Archive for the 'Corruption' Category

12
Jan
18

Clear signs of fraud in Felda land deal

Clear signs of fraud in Felda land deal

THERE are clear signs of fraud in Felda’s Jalan Semarak land deal, said a top property lawyer, as investigations intensify into how the beleaguered agency lost ownership of a prime piece of land in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian property lawyers (HartaGuam) deputy president Salkukhairi Abd Shukor said this was because the developer of the four parcels of land had abused the power of attorney granted to it by Felda.

The developer, appointed by Felda subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation (FIC), transferred ownership of the land to Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd in which it had an interest.

The transfer of ownership did not have to occur as the developer had only been appointed by Felda to build Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC), said Salkukhairi.

KLVC is being built on land that houses Felda’s old headquarters and two of its buildings, Anjung Felda and Wisma Felda. Once completed, the project is supposed to include the agency’s iconic tower, known as KLVC Tower1A.

Another sign of fraud was the claim that no money changed hands during the alleged transfer, he said.

“According to Felda chairman (Shahrir Samad), Felda has up to this point not received a sen from the transfer.

“How could a land owner transfer ownership without any value consideration? That’s where I believe the fraud is,” Salkukhairi told The Malaysian Insight.

It has been reported that the land, which totals 66,000 sq m in central Kuala Lumpur, was worth RM270 million when its ownership was transferred.

However, Shahrir reportedly said Felda did not gain a sen from the transaction which occurred in December 2015.

The decision to appoint KLVC’s developer and to give it power of attorney was done by FIC in June 2014.

However, FIC only informed the Felda board of the decision three months later and asked for retrospective approval.

Police have opened investigations into the allegations and plan to haul up former Felda chairman Mohd Isa Samad for questioning.

Isa was both Felda and FIC chairman while the deal took place.

…more
Clear signs of fraud in Felda land deal
28 Dec 2017 – TMI

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11
Jan
18

Malaysia’s 1MDB settles debt owed to Abu Dhabi with China backing

Malaysia’s 1MDB settles debt owed to Abu Dhabi with China backing

KUALA LUMPUR – State-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has made the final settlement of US$602.7 million ($S810 million) in debt obligations to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), by divesting its stake in two companies to buyers linked to Chinese state-owned enterprises.

The payment, the second tranche to a US$1.2 billion dollar loan IPIC extended in July 2015 to the troubled 1MDB, was made on Friday (Dec 22), ahead of the end-December deadline that both parties agreed to in early April this year.

IPIC confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that “it has now received all the funds required to be paid to it under the Settlement with the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) Malaysia and 1MDB and the Consent Award made on 9 May 2017”.

“The process to pay is being initiated early because the funds are in place and 1MDB wants to avoid any administrative trip-ups that could result from the banking holidays at the end of the year,” one Malaysian government official familiar with the settlement said.

The first tranche was settled in August.

The second instalment will be paid with funds raised from the sale of investments in financial instruments held by the Malaysian investment company and stakes held in two 1MDB-related entities that own tracts of land in the northern Penang state and another 318-acre real estate parcel around Port Klang, the sources said.

Malaysian government officials declined to identify the buyers in the real estate transactions but one financial executive close to the situation said that the equity interests in the 1MDB real estate entities were acquired by “concerns ultimately controlled by Chinese state-owned enterprises”. The executive declined to elaborate.

1MDB did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, 1MDB said that all funds were paid from proceeds of its on-going rationalisation programme.

Opposition MP Tony Pua had previously questioned how 1MDB was funding these repayments, and alleged that the Ministry of Finance’s refusal to answer indicated that 1MDB had help from the government.

For the first tranche, 1MDB had said in April that it would use investment units owned by 1MDB subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited to fund the payment.

In June however, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) said these so-called fund units are “relatively worthless”.

The DOJ has filed several lawsuits seeking to seize dozens of properties and luxury assets that it claimed were purchased with funds misappropriated from 1MDB amounting to over US$3.5 billion. The ongoing probe is one of several worldwide relating to 1MDB. Investigations have also been carried out in Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

The dispute between 1MDB and IPIC revolves around the IPIC loan and another US$3.54 billion in cash advances 1MDB claimed it made to several Abu Dhabi-controlled entities as part of obligations under a May 2012 bond arrangement.

IPIC claimed that it never received the monies from 1MDB, triggering the dispute.

…more
Malaysia’s 1MDB settles debt owed to Abu Dhabi with China backing
27 Dec 2017 – Straits Times

10
Jan
18

Company in Felda land transfer scandal is interior design company

Shadow cast over ID company in Felda land transfer

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27— Questions are being raised about the development experience of local company Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, reported to have taken over ownership of the Jalan Semarak land here from the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

Malay daily Berita Harian cited an unnamed source claiming that Synergy Promenade is an interior design company with experience in handling some interior projects in Menara Felda and Istana Negara, but none in managing development projects.

“There is no reason for the land to be transferred to Synergy Promenade. Granted the full power of attorney (PA), the company already has enough power to do the development works on behalf of Felda.

“Synergy Promenade holds the PA only as an agent while Felda is the principal so that it could get the development order (DO). So, why would the land need to be transferred to the company?” the source was quoted saying.

According to the source, Synergy Promenade should have only imposed a third-party charge on the land as it had already acquired the DO as well as a lease agreement with Felda Investment Corp (FIC) for a large section of the tower that was to be built.

The source said the third party charge can be collected from the project itself and not from the land, as the company is responsible to fund the project.

The source claimed that in order for banks to approve loans to the company or the project, Synergy Promenade should have a credit worthiness and value to the bank.

Berita Harian also reported that Synergy Promenade was registered on June 15, 2006, and recorded its activities as property developer and construction contractor, general contractor, and general business.

The newspaper added that its checks showed no project developments had been carried out by Synergy Promenade.

…more
Shadow cast over ID company in Felda land transfer
December 27, 2017 – MMO

06
Jan
18

Forensic audit unnecessary to nab culprits in Felda land scam

Forensic audit unnecessary to nab culprits in Felda land scam

THE government does not need to hold a forensic audit to finger the persons responsible for the ownership transfer of Felda’s four parcels of prime land in Kuala Lumpur, as the timeline for the chain of events will provide enough clues to the identities of the guilty parties, Johor PKR chairman Hassan Karim said.

Putrajaya needs only to look at the chronology of events and management chart to identify the individuals responsible, Hassan said at the launch of “Jelajah Selamatkan Felda” (Save Felda Roadshow) in Kota Tinggi in the southernmost state last night.

“We’ve actually told (Prime Minister) Najib (Razak) there is no need to appoint a forensic auditor for an inquiry.

“It’s easy (to pinpoint the culprit). Shahrir Samad is now the Felda chairman. Before that, who was it? Isa Samad. All this is in front of the prime minister. Remember, Felda is under the prime minister,” Hassan said at the event organised by Anak, a group representing second-generation Felda settlers.

Amanah leaders Mohamad Sabu, Aminolhuda Hassan and Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus, Bersatu vice-president Abdul Rashid Asari and Anak president Mazlan Aliman were present..

Hassan was referring to Najib’s promise to get to the bottom of Felda’s latest scandal which came to light last month. About 6ha of prime land on Jalan Semarak was sold for RM270 million to a company which was also given the power of attorney to develop the land, without Felda receiving a sen.

Najib on his blog two days ago said the government had appointed an external auditor to conduct a forensic audit on the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC) project that was to be built on the Jalan Semarak land.

“This audit firm will conduct a forensic audit on all activities, decisions and actions related to this project.

“It will also reevaluate the relevant regulatory process, including weaknesses in internal administration, as well as Felda’s oversight of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC).

“The audit firm’s investigation will also involve the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Land and Mines Office and City Hall,” Najib wrote on najibrazak.com.

Hassan yesterday night said the timeline showed that the land transfer or sale had occurred while Umno warlord Isa Samad was the agency chairman.

Isa was Felda chairman from 2011 to January last year, after which Shahrir took over.

Isa was also chairman of Felda Global Ventures Bhd (FGV) from 2011 to June last year, and chairman of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC) from July 2013 to last year.

FIC is also under investigation for acquiring overpriced hotels in London and Kuching, which occured during Isa’s tenure.

Hassan said Felda’s problems were like a movie where characters on the same side played “good cop, bad cop”.

“Najib, Shahrir and Isa represent two faces of the Umno and Barisan Nasional government,” he said.

Anak president Mazlan, meanwhile, said Isa was merely a “yes-man” in the scandals as he ultimately reported to Najib and the Prime Minister’s Department which oversaw Felda.

…more
Forensic audit unnecessary to nab culprits in Felda land scam
6 Jan 2018 – TMI

02
Jan
18

The sad tale of Felda and FGV

The sad tale of Felda and FGV

Instead of becoming rich and comfortable, settlers are now in a constant tussle with Felda over their rights and benefits.

COMMENT

By TK Chua

Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) was one of the rare successes of socio-economic engineering in our country.

It has brought a decent life to many settlers from its inception in the 1950s.

It was established as a statutory body and for years Felda was managed by technocrats. The objective was modest — to bring about poverty alleviation, especially among the rural poor.

Over time, Felda became a very rich and well-endowed organisation, more due to its large holding of land throughout the country when land was acquired at a pittance.

In tandem, the settlers and the government should have become very rich too, benefiting from income and capital appreciation from their investment.

But what happened in recent years was most unfortunate. For reasons which are quite beyond my comprehension, settlers are now saddled with endless borrowings and debts.

Instead of becoming rich and comfortable, the settlers are now in a constant tussle with Felda over their rights and benefits.

Instead of becoming independent, based on what they own, they are now in constant need of “special bonus/payments” from the government.

The problem did not stop there. With corporate bigwigs, consisting of former politicians, indulging in “investing” and “venturing”, the problems in Felda have became bigger.

Almost everything they touched has become mud so far.

I have thought Felda settlers should have been given their free shares when FGV was first listed.

Instead, it was loans in exchange for shares in FGV. Did Felda settlers own anything at all in Felda before FGV was listed?

But not only that, the price of FGV has plummeted from RM5 a share at the time of listing to less than RM2 a share at present.

Did other plantation companies listed in the exchange suffer the same fate as FGV during the same period?

We should ask why, instead of making the settlers richer, we have made them more in debt and poorer.

Then what about their so many other devious and dubious investments, from luxurious hotels in London to a sturgeon fish project in Malaysia. I hope the investigations into them are still going on.

And before we can get on top of all this, we have been handed another bombshell — their prime land on Jalan Semarak in Kuala Lumpur is now embroiled in a controversy and uncertainties.

You know what; I am not optimistic at all that the latest problem in Felda and FGV will be resolved soon.

Label me a pessimist if you wish. In fact, I wish I was wrong.

…more
The sad tale of Felda and FGV
December 25, 2017 – FMT

01
Jan
18

IPIC v 1MDB: A mind-boggling settlement

IPIC v 1MDB: A mind-boggling settlement

Writer questions unfavourable terms in 1MDB-IPIC settlement, and government’s apparent U-turn on fighting the case.

COMMENT

By Mohamed Hanipa Maidin

Despite a bit of a delay in giving this comment, I am still tempted to pen this article commenting on arbitration proceedings between the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Aabar Investment PJS Ltd on one part, and our debt-laden 1MDB on the other. The proceedings took place at the London Court of International Arbitration.

The relationship between IPIC and IMDB commenced in 2012. It all started when IPIC guaranteed two bonds for 1MDB to raise funds for the purchase of power generation assets.

It is fascinating to note that despite not being named as a party to the arbitration proceedings, the agreement of settlement also involved the Minister of Finance (Inc) of Malaysia (MOF). Under the terms of the said settlement, apart from 1MDB, the MOF also undertook to IPIC to assume full responsibility for all future interests and principal payments under the two bonds issued by the 1MDB group companies that are guaranteed by 1MDB and IPIC.

Why do I need to comment? The answer is fairly simple. As far as I am concerned, the purported settlement plainly reflected a mind-boggling one, viewed from any perspective.

According to a New Straits Times report dated Aug 1, 2016, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani was reported to have said that 1MDB would fight the case and would never settle.

He further said: “We want to see them in court. Let the arbitrator see our documents.”

He also reiterated that “all of our investments are guaranteed by IPIC. We want to fight this case and we want to win. Based on the documents 1MDB forwarded to us, I am very confident of a positive outcome. We are taking the position that we are not paying the interest. We should not pay and we must win this case.”

But that was in 2016. In 2017, the government seemed to make a huge and drastic U-turn. Although it was previously confident of winning the case, 1MDB suddenly agreed to settle the dispute. And, in fact, it paid the first payment in the sum of US$ 602.725 million to IPIC sometime in August this year as part of the terms of settlement.

Yesterday, it was reported that the second payment of US$ 602 million could be paid to IPIC by the end of this year.

What brought IPIC and 1MDB to the arbitration in London? To recap, according to the same minister, “the dispute is about IPIC not acknowledging the British Virgin Islands-registered (BVI) Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, as its entity within its group.”

It was also reported that 1MDB had sent a total of US$3.5 billion to Aabar BVI. All in, the 1MDB transfers to Aabar included about US$ 1.4 billion from a privately placed bond that Goldman Sachs raised in 2012. The 1MDB fund also made payment of US$855 million, US$933 million and US$295 million as security deposits and other guarantees for the bond to the BVI firm.

The minister confidently stated that as far as the ministry was concerned, and based on the records available in the ministry, BVI-registered Aabar Investment belonged to IPIC. According to him, the directors of the companies were both the senior officials of IPIC. Nevertheless, IPIC suddenly took a different position by denying that the said company was one of its own subsidiaries.

I am of the view that there was a strong likelihood the minister might have given an honest statement. Assuming that he was right, it was clearly neither wise nor proper for IMDB to amicably settle this matter, let alone settle it on such unfavourable terms. It raises a lot of questions as to why 1MDB as well as the finance ministry had no qualms whatsoever in settling the arbitral dispute on such glaringly unfavourable terms.

If what was said by the minister was completely true, the ministry and 1MDB respectively should have never agreed to reach any settlement. On the contrary, both should have fought or litigated the case to the hilt. Apparently, 1MDB had a good case and meritorious defence.

With such a questionable and mind-boggling settlement, I sincerely believe that both the prime minister and 1MDB owe the people reasonable and convincing explanations to the following legitimate questions:

a. Why did 1MDB as well as MOF agree to reach an amicable settlement with such dubious terms?

b. What really prompted the government to switch its legal position from robustly contesting the arbitral dispute with IPIC to conceding on such disadvantageous terms?

c. If it is true that 1MDB had duly paid Aabar Investment Ltd BVI prior to this, and the minister was so confident that such a payment was made in good faith to IPIC’s own subsidiary, what would have hindered 1MDB from bringing the real culprits into the suit by making them either third parties or co-defendants?

d. What happened to the purported payment of US$3.5 billion? What has the government done to recover the said sum of money?

We are awaiting your convincing replies, Mr Prime Minister.

Mohamed Hanipa Maidin is Sepang MP.

…more
IPIC v 1MDB: A mind-boggling settlement
December 22, 2017 – FMT

31
Dec
17

What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?

What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?

1. What happened?

LAST Thursday, pro-government newspaper Berita Harian revealed that the ownership of 66,000m2 of Felda land in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur was believed to have been transferred via a dubious transaction in 2015.

According to the report, Felda, which has not received any money from the transfer, is at risk of losing ownership of the land which is estimated to be worth RM270 million.

The dubious ownership transfer transaction involved seven towers, including the iconic Felda tower being developed by Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC), said the report.

The newspaper had conducted a check at the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) website, and discovered that the iconic Felda tower has been approved for construction.

Two days later, Berita Harian reported that the current value of the land in Jalan Semarak, which has been earmarked for joint development by KLVC, is worth an estimated RM1 billion.

The figure far surpasses the sale price of RM270 million in four sales-and-purchase agreements between Felda and Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, developers for KLVC.

Umran Suffian Husin, a senior executive at a property valuation firm, said land along Jalan Gurney, Jalan Maktab and Jalan Semarak, where the the four parcels of land are located, are valued at RM1,300 to RM1,600 per square feet (psf).

“This is a rough estimation based on the value of property in the area. The final price would depend on the land size, the use it is zoned for, and the actual location,” the Malay daily quoted Umran saying.

Berita Harian had claimed that a KLVC source said the land was worth RM1,950psf and that foreign companies were also interested in the land parcels.

The land transfer was made while veteran Umno leader Isa Samad was Felda chairman. Felda is now headed by Johor Baru MP Shahrir Samad.

2. Who got the land?

The Felda land on Jalan Semarak is now owned by Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, KLVC’s developer.

A check at the Registrar of Societies (RoS) showed that Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, located at No 16, Jalan Kota Raja M 27/M, Hicom Town Centre, Seksyen 27, 40400, Shah Alam, Selangor is owned by businessman Abdul Rahman Soltan dan his sister Noraini Soltan.

3. What is the status of the land?

According to legal expert Salleh Buang, Malaysian land laws prescribe that an individual who is registered officially as the owner of a plot of land will enjoy ownership rights under the principle of indefeasibility – Section 340(1) of the National Land Act 1965.

However, Salleh said that if elements of unreasonable influence or cheating was present during the process of ownership transfer, the individual’s ownership can be disputed in court.

He said any challenges to the transfer must be made before the land is transferred to a third party.

According to Salleh, if the land is transferred to a third party (a bona fide purchaser, BFP), the action of challenging or questioning the original transfer will be made void.

4. What is the reaction of the authorities?

Astro Awani reported that the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) found no element of bribery or abuse of power in the property transfer of the Jalan Semarak land.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Azam Baki said the matter was due to management weaknesses and is under the purview of police investigations.

Deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said a special police force has been formed to investigate the case of the “missing” Felda land.

He said police have not dismissed the possibility of calling in former Felda chairman Isa for questioning.

Isa told the media he is willing to assist in investigations, but until now, has yet to be called up by the police.

5. What is Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) reaction?

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has urged Putrajaya to stop the drama and to take immediate action against those who have caused Felda to lose the land.

Nurul Izzah said Prime Minister Najib Razak must take immediate steps to reveal the depth of scandals plaguing Felda.

Bersatu supreme council member Zahid Mat Arip said the issue is being used to distract the people from the larger 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Zahid, who was formerly a special officer to Isa, said he was confident that his former boss was being made the “black sheep” by Umno ahead of the 14th general election.

6. What is the reaction of Felda settlers?

Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangaan (Anak) had urged Najib to take action as he hired Isa as Felda chairman.

Anak president Mazlan Aliman said that Najib insisted on appointing Isa as Felda chairman in 2011 in spite of objections from many quarters.

“The concept of joint responsibility, meaning Isa alone should not be held responsible. I’m sorry, Najib, you have to be responsible for the biggest disaster to hit Felda!”

7. What is the reaction of BN?

Umno youth vice-president Khairul Azwan Harun said the movement has placed full confidence in the police to conduct investigations.

Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi slammed the opposition for trying to link Najib to the Felda land issue.

He said the prime minister had already instructed for the matter to be resolved with a forensic audit conducted by an external audit team.

“So the opposition shouldn’t try to act like heroes and point fingers to blame the prime minister.

“They should urge Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali to resign because of the administrative scandals in their states,” he said.

Umno youth exco Nazir Hussin Akhtar Hussin said Felda’s board of directors has to be held responsible over the issue.

He said it was unfair to involve Najib in the issue as Felda has its own management organisation to make decisions.

8. Unanswered questions

a) How could Felda hand over the power of attorney (PA) to a developing company to develop the land, leading to the transfer of the land to that company?

b) Who are the individuals behind this transaction?

c) How did land belonging to a government agency be transferred to the hands of a private corporation without any payment, when the transaction had to go through several other government agencies before it was approved? – December 27, 2017.

…more
What happened to Felda’s land on Jalan Semarak?
27 Dec 2017 – TMI




Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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