Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Suing NFC will not see return of RM250m, says Rafizi

UPDATED @ 05:15:24 PM 16-10-2012
October 16, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Putrajaya will not see the return of the RM250 million in public funds lent to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) even if it initiates a civil suit against the company, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli said today.

The firm, owned by former Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family and picked to run the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) cattle-farming project, hit the headlines last year when the Auditor-General in his 2010 report stated that it had missed production targets.

The opposition party’s strategy chief, who spearheaded corruption allegations against the company over the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) cattle-farming project, pointed out that the Auditor-General had in his 2011 report tabled yesterday in Parliament recommended legal action against NFCorp to claim back public money owed.

“Keadilan rejects the civil action on NFC as it does not guarantee the RM250 million in public funds will be fully collected,” he said in a statement.

Rafizi (picture) pointed out that the contract was made between the federal government and NFCorp and any civil suit would only involve the latter company.

He claimed that it was the other companies fully-owned by Shahrizat’s family which had nothing to do with the national feedlot project and not NFCorp that had allegedly embezzled and bought luxury assets.

“These companies do not have a legal responsibility or obligation to the government or even an agreement on the RM250 million public funds because it only involved NFCorp, and therefore cannot be sued,” the 35-year-old politician said.

“Even if the federal government succeeded in its civil suit, NFCorp can easily be declared bankrupt and still not afford to pay the RM250 million loan,” he added, pointing out that NFCorp did not own huge assets and had been suffering losses since it started operations.

He said the authorities, including the Attorney-General and Bank Negara, should have acted swifter on previous recommendations to seize and freeze the shareholders’ assets under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

He said the Auditor-General’s 2011 Report on NFC reflected the Najib administration’s attitude towards the case, saying it was an attempt to delay action in the hope that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will win the next elections and the issue will fade away.

“That is why Keadilan had from the start recommended to the federal government to impose a ‘personal guarantee’ against Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and her family so that all their properties (including the luxury properties purchased through companies wholly-owned by them but using funds from NFCorp) would be seized to get back the embezzled RM250 million public fund,” Rafizi said.

The opposition has alleged that NFCorp directors used the loan meant for a federal cattle-farming scheme to buy or finance properties in Kazakhstan and Singapore worth at least RM45 million, and to siphon out at least RM12 million to their own companies in the island state.

PKR had also accused NFCorp of “hunting down” alleged whistleblowers to “put the lid on” claims the company abused the RM250 million federal loan to finance property, luxury cars and expenses unrelated to cattle farming.

Shahrizat, who had headed the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry when the project was awarded to her family in 2006, relinquished her Cabinet post in early April over the allegations against her family.

On March 12, her husband and NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million with regards to the purchase of two condominium units.

He also pleaded not guilty to two other charges under the Companies Act.

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