Malaysia

In about face, MACC now says probing NFC

PKR has lodged a second report with the MACC over claims of abuse involving the NFC. — File picPKR has lodged a second report with the MACC over claims of abuse involving the NFC. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) announced today it is investigating allegations surrounding the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), despite previously saying it would not probe the matter.

The MACC earlier referred the case to the police, who are now conducting an investigation into possible criminal breach of trust.

But in a statement today, the commission revealed that a special team headed by MACC investigations director Datuk Haji Mustafar Ali has been formed to investigate claims of misappropriation of NFC funds.

“The commission would like to stress that the collection of evidence and testimony has begun since the issue was reported in the Auditor-General’s 2010 report and appropriate action has already been taken on issues raised (in the report),” it said, without detailing the commission’s actions so far.

The statement confirmed the receipt of the latest report concerning the NFC, but said the commission could not divulge any details of the on-going investigation.

Following a series of exposés on the scandal-hit NFC project, PKR yesterday renewed demands for the country’s graft busters to investigate the government-funded scheme for abuse.

The party’s representatives had lodged another report at the MACC office in Shah Alam, and submitted details of what they claim to be evidence of wrongdoing.

PKR first latched onto the issue after the RM250 million federally-funded cattle project made it into the pages of the Auditor-General’s report for 2010, which described the NFC as “a mess”.

Since then, the party has made several revelations related to the scandal, including the NFC’s purchase of twin multi-million luxury condominium units in Bangsar, the alleged use of project funds to finance Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and her family’s personal expenses and trips abroad, the transfer of resources to unrelated companies in Singapore, as well as the purchase a Mercedes-Benz CLS350 for RM534,622 and two plots of land in Putrajaya’s Precinct 10 for RM3,363,507.

The latest disclosure by PKR, made on Tuesday, alleged that some RM10 million was diverted towards the purchase of luxury condominium unit in Singapore for Shahrizat’s family.

Shahrizat has sought to deflect away attention by stating she “is only the wife” of the national cattle farming project’s chairman.

The women, family and community development minister said “legally and professionally, I am not involved in the NFC.”

The Wanita Umno chief has faced growing calls to quit as minister from within Umno, including from influential former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after repeated attacks from the opposition over the project awarded to her husband and three children, who are directors in the NFC.

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