Felda not under siege says chairman, as another unit probed for graft

Felda not under siege says chairman, as another unit probed for graft

Felda office 2
Balai Felda in Kuala Lumpur which houses the Felda Investment Corporation office. (Photo: Sumisha Naidu) 

KUALA LUMPUR: Several Malaysian anti-graft officials visited the investment arm of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) on Monday (Jul 17) as part of a revived investigation into the conglomerate, in a move which was welcomed by its chairman Shahrir Samad.

Last week, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it had received fresh information leading it to believe that Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) had bought a hotel in Kensington in the UK between 2013 and 2015 at a price significantly higher than its original price, causing FIC to suffer losses of millions of ringgit.

An FIC representative denied it was a raid but said the officers were there for questioning and to seize documents. The MACC has yet to confirm what kind of operation was taking place, but investigations were opened into the investment arm last week. 

In 2015, the Malaysian government said the MACC had cleared the top management of Felda of any wrongdoing over the purchase of the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London.

"(Investigations) have been re-opened because they received new evidence," Mr Shahrir told Channel NewsAsia via WhatsApp. 

"No sense of being under siege. We welcome the revived investigation so that if there was any abuse of power, those responsible can be held accountable."

Mr Shahrir was responding to comments that Felda appeared to be in the line of fire given a corruption scandal engulfing the palm-oil producer it holds a 34 per cent stake in - Felda Global Ventures (FGV).

Felda office 3
Balai Felda lobby in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: Sumisha Naidu) 

Isa Samad, who was appointed chairman and non-independent executive director of FGV in 2011, resigned as chairman on Jun 19 and was appointed acting chairman of the Land Public Transport authority amid allegations of graft and abused of power at FGV. He was called in for questioning by MACC that same week. 

FGV's CEO and three other top executives were suspended indefinitely last month pending an internal probe over alleged mismanagement. On Monday, it was announced that the internal inquiry would be taking place between Jul 24 to Aug 14.

Source: CNA/af