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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MACC to call key person in FIC’s purchase of 2 hotels

Anti-graft agency is expected to summon him next week about the purchase of hotels in London and Kuching.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will call a key individual in connection with the purchase of a hotel in London and another in Kuching, Sarawak, by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).
Its deputy chief commissioner (operations), Mohd Azam Baki, who said the man would be called next week, however, declined to reveal the identity of the individual.
Azam said so far, nine individuals had been detained and more than 30 witnesses called in connection with the purchase of the two hotels.
He said this after appearing as a guest of Bernama News Channel’s “Ruang Bicara” programme at Wisma Bernama here last night.
“With regard to the hotel purchase in London, the investigating officer will record statements from witnesses, who include lawyers and bank officers,” he said.
Asked whether the MACC would investigate the purchase of other hotels by FIC, Azam said so far the commission was only investigating the hotel purchases in London and Kuching.
“If there are others, we will see whether there are elements of corruption or abuse of power in these purchases,” he said.
The MACC has opened an investigation paper on the purchase dealing with a four-star hotel in Kensington, London, between 2013 and 2015 by FIC, which was allegedly paid for at a much higher price than the original price, causing the Felda subsidiary company to lose millions of ringgit.
FIC was reported to have bought the hotel for £60 million (RM330 million) on Dec 16, 2014.
The MACC then commenced investigation into the purchase of a hotel in Kuching following information received by the investigating team while probing the purchase of the hotel in London by FIC.
Today, three individuals were believed to have given their statements at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya about the purchase of the hotel in Kensington by FIC.
According to a source in the MACC, one of the three, formerly a member of the FIC board of directors, had come to the MACC headquarters yesterday to assist in the investigation.
The other two are the director of a division in Felda and the legal partner of a lawyer who had earlier been remanded over the handling of the documentation in the sale and purchase of the hotel between its original owner and a third party (company) before it was sold to FIC, said the source.
The three had come to the MACC headquarters separately between 10am and 11.30am.
Meanwhile, Felda chairman Shahrir Abdul Samd said the MACC action in investigating the FIC purchase of the two hotels would help hasten Felda’s cleansing and renewal process in enhancing its integrity and governance.
He said Felda was prepared to fully cooperate in the case involving its subsidiary company, regardless of the position of the individuals to be called by the MACC to assist in the investigations.
“It’s up to MACC who it wants to call and we encourage a comprehensive investigation into FIC or Felda be carried out.”
So far, nine individuals have been detained and over 30 witnesses called by MACC in its probe.
Shahrir said he was determined to ensure that Felda would be managed with a high level of integrity and with focus on the welfare of the settlers. - FMT

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