Govt, NFC to reach settlement on RM253.6m suit by May 17, failing which trial resumes

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE 

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court today set May 17 to resume trial of a suit by the Malaysian government to recover RM253.6 million in loan payments and interests from National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) should parties involved failed to reach a settlement.

Senior federal counsel Nurhafizza Azizan, representing the government when met by reporters, said the court had set today to resume the trial before Judicial Commissioner Anand Ponnudurai.

“However, today’s trial was postponed following NFC’s request to settle the suit. The parties will inform the court on the status of the settlement of the case on May 17. If no settlement is reached, the case will continue with the trial on that day,” he said, adding that the defendants had presented five witnesses in the suit.

The trial had commenced on Jan 13, 2021 last year and the plaintiff had closed their case on March 17 after calling seven witnesses to testify.

NFC is managed by the husband and three children of former Women, Family and Community Development Minister Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Today,  Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who was named the second defendant was supposed to testify.

In its claim, the government as the sole plaintiff, named the NFC as the first defendant. The other defendants were Wan Shahinur Izran, Wan Shahinur Izmir and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah.

Other defendants are six companies controlled by Mohamad Salleh’s family, comprising National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd, Real Food Corporation Sdn Bhd, Meatworks Corporation Sdn  Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, Asian Bioscience Corporation Sdn Bhd, and Techknowlogy Imageware (M) Sdn Bhd.

The government claimed that it had signed a loan agreement totalling RM250 million with NFC on Dec 6, 2007 to finance the costs of establishing and operating a National Feedlot Centre in Gemas as part of its policy to develop and increase beef production.

The loan was disbursed in three separate tranches and Mohamad Salleh’s family had made 10 withdrawals amounting to RM180.51 million from Jan 24, 2008 to Jan 3, 2011.

Of the RM180.51 million withdrawn, only RM8.32 million was paid directly to third parties to conduct the National Feedlot Centre project. The balance of the withdrawn funds was transferred to other NFC accounts and a total of RM118.04 million from this balance was allegedly misused.

The plaintiff claimed that  a total of RM9.76 million was misused, allegedly to purchase one of two units at One Menerung Residence. This was allegedly conducted by the sixth defendant, the National Meat & Livestock Corp.

The government also claimed that a total of RM300,000 was used to make payment to an individual for an undisclosed purpose and an additional RM1.8 million was paid to the same individual.

Mohamad Salleh’s family also allegedly used the loan by the government to settle monthly rental amounting to RM28,000 for an office lot at Solaris Mont Kiara.

Other alleged expenditure made with the loan included for purchase of two plots of land in Putrajaya, payment to two legal firms and the purchase of a four-storey shop house in Solaris Mont Kiara.