Malaysia

MACC clears Shahrizat in NFC probe

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has cleared Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil of any involvement in the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal.

MACC operations evaluation panel (PPO) chairman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil said today that investigations into Sharizat’s involvement in NFC were now closed.

“We have found she was not involved in the process of awarding the loan,” Hadenan told reporters at a press conference today.

“The decision to award the contract to the company and to award the loan does not involve her,” he added.

Shahrizat (picture), who is the wife of National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, had been linked to the scandal by PKR because of her husband’s position, and their three children’s directorships in the same firm.

The former women, family and community development minister had been questioned by the graft watchdog earlier in February after returning to her ministerial duties. 

She had earlier taken three weeks’ leave to allow authorities to investigate claims of abuse of power against both her and her family.

Shahrizat stepped down as minister after her double-term as senator expired on April 8.

The RM250 million publicly-funded cattle-raising scheme was first coined a “mess” in an article in English daily The Star after it made it into the pages of the Auditor-General’s 2010 Report for failing to meet production targets.

The term was later repeated by other media organisations to describe NFCorp after PKR launched a series of exposés to show that the project’s funds had been allegedly abused.

The company’s assets were frozen after investigations were launched by the police and the national anti-graft body following the revelations.

Mohamed Salleh was charged with criminal breach of trust and violating the Companies Act in relation to RM49 million in federal funds given to NFCorp last March 12.

The 64-year-old was charged under the Penal Code relating to CBT for misappropriating RM9,758,140 from NFCorp’s funds to purchase two condominium units at the One Menerung complex in Bangsar for the National Meat and Livestock Corporation (NMLC) on December 1 and December 4, 2009.

He was also charged with transferring RM40 million of NFCorp’s funds to the NMLC between May 6 and November 16, 2009.

He was further charged in both cases for using the said funds without any approval from company’s annual general meeting, which is an offence the Companies Act.

If found guilty, he faces between two and 20 years’ imprisonment, whipping, and a fine for the offences under the Penal Code.

Mohamad Salleh also faces a five-year jail term or RM30,000 fine for the charges proffered under the Companies Act.

He pleaded not guilty to the CBT charge as well as two counts under the Companies Act in the scandal that has opened Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to damaging attacks ahead of elections that must be called by March next year.

 

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