May 31, 2012
Shahrizat cleared by MACC: That’s a Foregone Conclusion
Former Women and Family Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has been cleared of having had a hand in awarding the multi-million ringgit National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) project to her family members.
“We found that Shahrizat was not involved in the process – in awarding the project to the company and the RM250 million loan,” Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) operations review panel chief Hadenan Abdul Jalil said today.
The NFC has been accused of mismanaging the loan. Shahrizat’s husband Mohamed Salleh Ismail is the company’s chairperson with her children its directors.
Speaking on the matter briefly, Hadenan said the panel has decided to wrap up the matter.
Shahrizat relinquished her ministerial post on the expiry of her senatorship on April 8, but decided to continue as the Wanita UMNO Head and Wanita Barisan Nasional (BN) head.
She has repeatedly claimed she had nothing to do with the controversies surrounding the company and its management of the loans.
The project, meant to reduce Malaysia’s dependence on beef imports, received a negative assessment in the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 as being very far off-target. NFC has also been accused of abusing its government soft loan for the cattle breeding and beef supply project on purchases unrelated to the project.
In March, Salleh, 64, was finally charged with misappropriating RM9,758,140 to fund the purchase of two condominiums at One Menerung’ in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
The trial begins on November 5.
–by S. Pathmawathy@www.malaysiakini.com
Note: 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.
Shahrizat’s husband Dato Dr. Mohamed Salleh bin Ismail 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. Dr. 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.