Felda welcomes revived probe into FIC hotel purchase

FEDERAL Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad has welcomed renewed inquiries into a hotel purchase made by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC).

Shahrir said Felda will give full cooperation to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the investigation and is pleased by the new information received regarding FIC’s overpriced purchase of a four-star hotel in Kensington, London.

“As Felda chairman, and recognising that FIC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Felda, we will give our full cooperation in the investigation by MACC.

“We are also delighted on the new lead as we are committed against corruption,” Shahrir told reporters at the Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd Hari Raya open house in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Several officers from MACC arrived at Balai Felda in two separate vehicles at approximately 10.30am yesterday, in light of new evidence relating to the case.

Shahrir said following the revelation of the anomalies in FIC on Jan 17 this year, Shahrir had ordered the resignation of its board of directors, demanding a full-blown management reshuffle within the firm.

“I asked them to leave because I was not happy with their performance,” Shahrir said, denying that it was whitewash.

In a statement released last Friday, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad said FIC had allegedly bought the hotel at above market price, causing millions of ringgit in losses to settlers.

In turn, Dzulkfili had instructed MACC’s investigating team to open up an investigation paper over the matter.

He said a detailed probe will be conducted to determine whether there is any element of corruption or abuse of power with regard to the purchase.

“MACC will call several key witnesses to record their statements in order to get more information and evidence, before proceeding to the next course of action,” he said.

The controversial purchase was met with criticism from various quarters as early as 2013.

In 2015, the opposition had demanded MACC to clarify the status of investigations on claims that Felda’s management had paid RM538 million for the purchase of the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments and RM330 million for the purchase of the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan had told Dewan Rakyat that preliminary investigations found no element of wrongdoing in the deal by FIC, while former chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad launched the hotel in December 2014.

Incorporated on July 2, 2013, FIC was created to seek investment opportunities and generate returns to its parent stakeholder through assets acquisition.