KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — The National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) today denied that it had misused its government loan to purchase livestock cattle through a middleman firm, dismissing the allegation as yet another “distortion and misrepresentation” from PKR’s Rafizi Ramli.
In a statement here, the firm commissioned to run the scandal-ridden National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project explained that the cattle purchase was made legitimately through its Singapore-based Global Biofuture Pte Ltd, a company it had established to undertake “import logistics, purchase of livestock cattle and delivery to NFCorp”.
“As always, Rafizi (picture) has never given the full and accurate picture of NFCorp and, at best, offers lies, insinuations, fabrications, distortions and misrepresentations,” said the firm run by family members of former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
On Tuesday, Rafizi had lobbed yet another accusation against the Umno leader and her family members over the NFC scandal, this time claiming that NFCorp had committed money-laundering in its purchase of livestock for the project.
The PKR strategy director, who currently faces court charges for his NFC exposes, had shown reporters documents that revealed transactions by a few companies controlled by Shahrizat’s family over a US$990,402 (almost RM3 million) purchase of cattle from an Australian livestock company.
He showed an invoice from South East Asian Livestock Services Pty Ltd dated October 14, 2010, for the sale of cattle to Global Biofuture, a firm also run by Shahrizat’s family members.
An email purportedly from Meatworks Singapore’s Donna Yong to NFCorp’s finance department dated October 25, 2010 was also shown, where a request for payment of the cattle purchase was made.
Rafizi pointed to a form signed by Yong on the same day requesting National Meat and Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd (NMLC) to issue the cheque for US$990,402 as payment.
“This means that NFC money has been illegally transferred through NMLC to Global Biofuture Pte Ltd (which is) owned by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family,” he claimed.
Rafizi said that this was not only in breach of the Anti-Money Laundering Act but also the Companies Act, saying “the directors of NMLC will be prosecuted for illegally paying another company’s (Global BioFuture) invoice.”
Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Bank Negara has to investigate when it has “grounds to believe that the source of funds is suspect, that the objective of (funds) transfer is suspect”, Rafizi had explained.
He said the transaction raised doubts on whether Shahrizat’s family had gained illicit profit twice in the sale of livestock to NFCorp.
“Why can’t NFCorp directly purchase the cattle from the suppliers without going through a middleman (Global BioFuture) which is coincidentally owned by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family?” he had pointed out.
But NFCorp explained today that it had to establish separate companies to achieve its goal and purpose in operating the NFC project, a RM250 million federally-funded cattle-farming initiative aimed at achieving the country’s National Meat Policy (Ruminant Sector) 2006.
“In meeting the objectives of its core business and to ensure efficiencies, NFCorp established a group of companies to specialise in their respective fields,” the firm said.
It added that the funds to purchase the livestock cattle had come from a government loan from the Finance Ministry, whereby a loan agreement was signed on December 6, 2007.
“The funds from the government are clean, and not illegal or illicit in nature,” it said,
“Rafizi Ramli has always been on an unwarranted attack on NFCorp, a company only in its second year of operations in a 30-year contract with the government.
“He lied on the Auditor-General’s 2010 Report, the KL Eco City bank loans, the 5,000 acres of land in Gemas, the number of cattle in NFC Gemas and many others,” the firm said.
Rafizi, the NFCorp added, “is not to be believed”.