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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mara paid RM375 million for 4 Melbourne properties, says Rafizi

National Oversight and Whistleblowers director Rafizi Ramli has revealed that Mara Inc spent a total of RM375.4 million to purchase four properties in Melbourne in 2013. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 30, 2015.National Oversight and Whistleblowers director Rafizi Ramli has revealed that Mara Inc spent a total of RM375.4 million to purchase four properties in Melbourne in 2013. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 30, 2015.
Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara)'s investment arm, Mara Inc, spent a total of RM375.4 million to purchase four properties in Melbourne in 2013, and Dudley International House was the cheapest of all, National Oversight and Whistleblowers director Rafizi Ramli said today.
Referring to documents from a Mara briefing about its investments in Melbourne presented in 2014, Rafizi, who is also PKR secretary-general, says the properties are also yielding rental returns below average market rates.
The most expensive purchase was the 746 Swanston Street property, bought for RM138.6 million, followed by 333 Exhibition Street for close to RM100 million and 51 Queens Street at RM70.4 million.
Even the Mara bosses, including its chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa, were briefed about the rental projects in May 2014, and this should have led the Mara Council cancelling the purchases, he added.
"The suggestion should have been rejected by Mara Council immediately. This shows there are elements of negligence, abuse of power, money laundering, or just down right stupidity," he said in a press conference today.
Mara, Rafizi said, referring to property market reports in Australia, had a rental yield between 5.5% to 6.2% for the properties, with the projection expected to increase between 6% to 6.7% in five years' time.
But the rental yield at the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) was already averaging 7% when Mara were evaluating the purchase, and was climbing to as high as 9% when the purchase was finalised.
Rafizi said that the rental yield is likely to be on the low side for the Mara-owned properties because it overpaid for the properties.
"Rental yield is calculated with rental returns and purchase price. Likely, Mara paid above market rates for these properties and hence the rental yield comes up lower," he said.
Last week, The Age had revealed that “a group of super-rich Malaysian officials” overpaid by A$4.75 million (RM13.8 million) for a Melbourne property in 2013.
The trio had allegedly “overbid” for Dudley International House, from A$17.8 million to A$22.5 million (RM65.3 million), with the difference pocketed as bribes back home.
It was reported that Australian developers of the property received sham invoices for fake services, such as “consultancy and advisory”, from Malaysian firms, the paper had said.
Following the report, Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa had said Mara began investigations into the multi-million ringgit purchase of the building by one of its subsidiaries two months ago, way before the matter was highlighted by the Australian newspaper.
- TMI

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