NFCorp: I suffer losses, not the government – Mohamad Salleh

KUALA LUMPUR – National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) executive chairman, Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail (picture) told the High Court here today, that he and his company suffered losses due to the failure of the National Feedlot Centre project in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan, not the government.

Mohamad Salleh, 74, said this was because the monies from NFCorp were seized and the government suspended the project.

“I suffered losses, not you (the government). You froze and seized the monies and suspended the project. You did not build the abattoir.

“I had spent all my time to make the project a success. But after you seized the monies, the project could not proceed anymore,” Mohamad Salleh said, adding that because of the losses incurred, he filed a counter claim of RM86 million against the government.

Mohamad Salleh was being cross-examined by senior federal counsel Asliza Ali, representing the government, at the hearing of the government’s suit against NFCorp to recover RM253.6 million in loan repayment and interest from the company over the National Feedlot Centre project in Gemas.

Asliza: I put it to you that your contention on the losses of NFCorp is an allegation and not proven and supported by the documents represented in court?

Mohamad Salleh: It’s not correct. We have all the evidence.

Mohamad Salleh, who is the husband of former Women, Family and Community Development Minister Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, denied that the company did not achieve the production target of 6,000 cattle slaughtered in 2010, according to the Auditor-General’s report.

“The company managed to bring in more than 8,000 cattle from Darwin, Australia. However, the company did not meet the target of the cattle production since we did not have enough abattoirs to slaughter the cattle,” he said.

Mohamad Salleh, who is the second defendant, said that out of the number (8,000), a total of 5,743 cattle were slaughtered from 2008 until the end of 2010 at the mini abattoir built by the company as the government did not provide such a facility.

“Based on the production target, we needed to slaughter 700 cattle per day, but the mini abattoir we built could only reach the rate of 30 cattle per day.

“No matter how many cattle we brought in, we still could not not meet the target due to the lack of abattoirs,” he added.

In its suit, the government named the NFCorp as the first defendant, while Mohamad Salleh and their three children, Wan Shahinur Izran, Wan Shahinur Izmir and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah, as the second to fifth defendants, respectively.

The other defendants are six companies controlled by Mohamad Salleh’s family, namely, 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 Technology Imageware (M) Sdn Bhd.

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

The loan was disbursed in three tranches and Mohamad Salleh’s family was claimed to have made 10 withdrawals amounting to RM18.51 million from Jan 24, 2008, to Jan 3, 2011.

The hearing before judge Anand Ponnudurai continues tomorrow. – Bernama