Thursday, July 25, 2013

NFCorp takes aim at news portals, MP over reports on buyout

The company responsible for the scandalised National Feedlot Centre (NFC) plans to sue news portals The Malaysian Insider and Free Malaysia Today along with lawmaker Rafizi Ramli over reports on its takeover by a Japanese-Malaysian venture.

On July 9, The Malaysian Insider reported the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) operated by the spouse of Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will be taken over by Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd but that the latter will not be assuming the former firm’s liabilities that included a RM250 million federal loan.

Yesterday, NFCorp chairman and Shahrizat’s husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail told a news conference that Kirimitonas Agro was putting the RM250 million debt in its books.

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The company said it then contact the news portal to seek clarification, according to a report by

“They have responded, saying there are no factual errors in the article, (it) is accurate and they are unable to reveal their sources,” Wan Shahrizal Wan Ladin, a lawyer representing NFCorp, was quoted as saying in the report.

“There is nothing much we can do. So we have to file a suit for them to justify in court.”

Aside from The Malaysian Insider, NFCorp will also issue letters of demand to Free Malaysia Today and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli (picture) over the report.

Subsequent to the July 9 article, Rafizi had told the press that the deal made it unlikely that the remaineder of RM250 million loan still owed by the NFCorp will be recoverable.

Rafizi was pushed into the limelight after exposing NFCorp’s purchases of luxury condominium units through the federal government loan that was meant for the national cattle-farming project.

The Auditor-General’s 2010 report had highlighted the failure of the NFC project in achieving its target of breeding 8,000 cattle in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, in 2010, besides noting NFCorp’s management failures.

The trial of Shahrizat’s defamation suit against Rafizi revealed last March that NFCorp had purchased a RM534,622 Mercedes-Benz in 2009 as a company car that was parked in her house.

In the trial, Shahrizat had also defended NFCorp’s purchase of three luxury condominium units in the Orchard Scotts Residences and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore worth RM42 million, saying that the buy was part of the company’s investment portfolio, according to her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp.

Mohamad Salleh is currently on trial over charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act involving the alleged misuse of funds from the project.

The Wanita Umno chief also testified that the RM42 million condominiums in Singapore and two condominium units in Bangsar here costing RM30 million in total made up more than one-fifth of the RM250 million government loan.

Shahrizat’s senatorship was not renewed in April 2012, causing her to lose her women, family and community development portfolio in the Cabinet.

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