KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 ― Former Cabinet minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil said today she was unaware her husband had submitted a bid to operate the national cattle farming scheme through the National Feedlot Centre (NFC), and was not involved in helping her family secure the federal government project.
“I can confirm that neither my children nor my husband requested my assistance for this project,” Shahrizat told the High Court here today when testifying in her RM100 million defamation suit against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and Zuraida Kamaruddin over the NFC scandal.
Shahrizat added that her family would “know better” than to ask for her assistance.
When asked by her lawyer if she had attempted to help her family by using her influence as a Cabinet minister or senior politician, Shahrizat replied: “No. I never participated in any way whether directly or indirectly to assist them in securing this project.”
“I was never involved in the approval process or running of the company,” she said.Shahrizat, who was a minister when the project was awarded to her family in 2006, relinquished her Cabinet post in early April over the allegations against her family.
The federal opposition has alleged that the directors of National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) ― the firm that runs NFC ― had abused a RM250 million federal cattle farming loan.
NFCorp is owned by Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the couple’s three children.
Mohamad Salleh and one of the couple’s sons were present at the court hearing before the High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Shahrizat, who is suing Rafizi and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida, was represented by prominent lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
The trial will resume this Friday.
Rafizi had previously said that although he had repeatedly raised the question of conflict of interest in the award of the NFC project to Mohamad Salleh’s company when Shahrizat was still in the Cabinet, it was only the NFCorp chairman who was charged in court with wrongdoing.
On May 12, Mohamad Salleh pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million in NFCorp funds with regards to the purchase of two condominium units.
Last week, Rafizi, who has been at the forefront of the exposé on the scandal, was charged together with a former Public Bank clerk under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) for disclosing banking documents related to NFCorp.
Both of them could be fined a maximum of RM3 million or be jailed up to three years if found guilty.