This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on June 3, 2019 - June 9, 2019
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) officially filed a statement of claim (SoC) with the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Friday against National Feedlot Corp Sdn Bhd (NFC), its chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his three children, and six other companies owned by the family over a sum of RM253.6 million owed to the government.
Mohamad Salleh is the husband of former minister of women, family and community development Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
In the SoC, sighted by The Edge, the government, as plaintiff, named NFC as the first defendant and Mohamad Salleh, former NFC CEO Wan Shahinur Izran Mohamad Salleh, directors Wan Shahinur Izmir Mohamad Salleh and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah Mohamad Salleh as the second to fifth defendants.
It also named six companies controlled by the family as the sixth to 11th defendants, namely National Meat & Livestock Corp Sdn Bhd, Real Food Co Sdn Bhd, Meatworks Corp Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, Asian Bioscience Corp Sdn Bhd and Techknowlogy Imageware (M) Sdn Bhd.
The claim against NFC and the Salleh family, amounting to RM253.62 million, represent the sum owed to the government, together with interest of 2% per annum and default interest on RM224.77 million.
The government is also seeking a declaration from the court to have Salleh’s family personally liable for the debt repayment, the sum of RM118.04 million misappropriated from the loan and secret profits arising from it as well as Putrajaya’s entitlement to claim equitable title to the properties bought using NFC’s RM250 million loan from the government.
According to the SoC, the government had, on Dec 6, 2007, entered into an agreement with NFC to grant the latter a RM250 million loan to partially finance the setting up and operation of a national feedlot centre in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.
The government disbursed the loan in three tranches to NFC’s account with Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) from Jan 9, 2008, to March 31, 2009.
Through NFC, the Salleh family had sought the government’s approval to make 10 withdrawals, amounting to a total of RM180.51 million, from Jan 24, 2008, to Jan 3, 2011.
Of the sum, only RM8.32 million was paid directly to third parties to finance the national feedlot centre project while the balance was channelled into another NFC account with Maybank, of which RM118.04 million was misappropriated.
Of the misappropriated sum, RM9.76 million was allegedly used to partially pay for the acquisition of two residential units at One Menerung Residence by National Meat & Livestock Corp.
The Salleh family is alleged to have made NFC pay a monthly rent of RM28,000 to Wan Shahinur Izran for an office lot at Solaris Mont Kiara, for which the latter’s monthly instalment was RM4,452.
NFC was also paying a monthly rent of RM8,240 for an office lot owned by Mohamad Salleh and Wan Shahinur Izran, located next to the abovementioned unit.
Other substantial expenditure includes RM3.36 million for the purchase of two land parcels in Putrajaya and RM1.51 million to partially pay for the acquisition of a four-storey shoplot at Solaris Mont Kiara by Wan Shahinur Izran and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah.
The Salleh family then made NFC, through Meatworks Corp, pay a monthly rent of RM34,250 to Wan Shahinur Izran and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah for this shoplot.
The SoC also identified RM1.8 million from the misappropriated sum that was paid to Big Blue Taxi Facilities Sdn Bhd founder and adviser Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail for undisclosed purposes.
In March, Bernama reported that Shamsubahrin was acquitted and discharged on five counts of cheating Mohamad Salleh, involving RM1.75 million, and 17 counts of money laundering, after the prosecution withdrew its appeal against his acquittal.
The SoC did not name Shamsubahrin as a defendant.
In the SoC, the AGC also stated that as the grace period for repayment of the loan expired on Jan 7, 2011, NFC defaulted on the loan at the first instalment due on Jan 9, 2012, amounting to RM17.49 million.
The loan was supposed to be repaid to the government in 17 yearly instalments of RM17.49 million until Jan 9, 2028.
A little over two years on March 21, 2014, after the first default, the government notified NFC that the latter had breached its facility agreement by utilising the loan in contravention of the stipulated purpose and failing to charge three land parcels in Gemas to Putrajaya. Thus, the government cancelled the loan three months later on Sept 4, 2014, and demanded repayment. It has yet to recoup the funds until today.
According to a writ of summon, the High Court also ordered the appearance of the Salleh family and other defendants at its registry.
It is worth noting that Mohamad Salleh had been acquitted of two criminal breach of trust charges involving RM49.7 million in November 2015.
In response to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s announcement on the latest claims against NFC on May 20, Mohamad Salleh is reported to have issued a statement, saying that a new buyer of NFC is willing to fully settle the loan and that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been informed accordingly via a letter dated Nov 21, 2018.
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