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Friday, June 29, 2012

Consultant’s criminal charges point to bribe bid by NFC boss, says lawyer


Shamsubahrin arriving in court for an earlier hearing in May. — File picture by Jack Ooi
PETALING JAYA, June 29 — New criminal charges against Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail accuse him of convincing Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail to hand over RM1 million to bribe police investigating graft claims against the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), the consultant’s lawyer said today.
N. Surendran told a press conference today public prosecutors should also charge NFCorp chairman Salleh, who is the husband of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, for trying to bribe the police to close the case.
“The Attorney General is admitting in the charge sheet that Salleh was trying to bribe police. I have never seen such a charge from the AG’s chambers as it goes against public policy,” said Surendran (picture), who is also a PKR vice president.
“He is protecting someone who wanted to bribe the police. If he has evidence NFCorp tried to bribe police, why is there no action against Salleh?”
The purported charge sheet dated June 12 made available to reporters shows that an initial charge of cheating Salleh, who with his three children own the company accused of abusing a RM250 million federal loan, was split into four different parts.
Three of them, dated November 25, December 1 and 5, state that Shamsubahrin cheated Salleh into handing over cheques worth RM255,000, RM500,000 and RM300,000 respectively after “convincing (Salleh) dishonestly” to “... believe a part of the money was supposedly to be given to police officers in the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department, Bukit Perdana, to close the ongoing investigations by the Royal Malaysian Police related to NFCorp.”
Shahrizat has been dogged by allegations of corruption in the RM250 million federally-funded cattle farming project awarded to NFCorp, a firm owned and operated by her husband Salleh and three children, when she was still a member of Cabinet.
NFCorp has been accused of using the RM250 million loan to finance over RM60 million in assets and expenses unrelated to the cattle farming project it was tasked with carrying out, most of it via other companies owned by Shahrizat’s family.
The Wanita Umno chief even had to take three weeks’ leave from her ministerial duties to allow the authorities to investigate claims of abuse and power against both her and her family.
The scandal, which has been dominating media headlines since last year, later led to Shahrizat’s stepping down as minister after her senatorship expired on April 8.
Before stepping down, her husband Mohamad Salleh was charged with criminal breach of trust and violating the Companies Act in relation to RM49 million in federal funds given to NFCorp last March 12.
But the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said last month Shahrizat was not involved in any wrongdoing related to the award of the project to NFCorp.
Supposed NFCorp consultant Shamsubahrin was also charged with 17 counts of money laundering on June 18, worth a total of RM4.1 million.
This is on top of the charges of cheating Salleh out of RM1.76 million in fraudulent consultancy fees.

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