Setback in court for government suit against NFCorp

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 – The Malaysian Government’s suit against National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, whom is the husband of former Wanita Umno Chif, Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, his three children and their related companies which commenced on 13th February 2020 entered into its second day with the Government experiencing a setback in their claim for the sum of RM253.62 million owed to the Government when the Government witnesses had testified under cross-examination by NFCorp’s lawyers, Datuk Seri Rajan Navaratnam and Datuk K. Kirubakaran, that representatives of the Government were sitting on the Board of Directors for NFCorp. Whilst sitting on the Board of the company, they had attended and participated in meetings involving the management and operations of the NFCorp to operate a National Feedlot Centre in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.

Datuk Dr. A Manaf Bin Hussin who was the former Deputy Secretary of Loans, Financial Markets and Actuary, Ministry of Finance had testified that representatives of the Ministry of Finance including himself were directors of NFCorp from the year 2008 up until 2013 and therefore that they had knowledge on the operations and management of the company’s affairs. He also agreed under cross examination that it was the Government’s obligation and duty to have built an Export Quality Abbatoir for NFCorp in order for the project to be fully implemented, to which the Government had failed to honor pursuant to the Implementation Agreement signed between the Government of Malaysia and NFCorp. He also further admitted during cross examination that in order for the project to be fully implemented, the export Quality Abbatoir must first be built.

Datuk Dr Manaf had also agreed to a suggestion made by counsel, Datuk Seri Rajan Navaratnam, that the Implementation Agreement and the Loan Agreement are inter-related and therefore any non-fulfillment of the Implementation Agreement will affect NFCorp’s repayments obligations towards to the Loan Agreement. 

Lawyer Dato’ Sri Rajan Navaratnam

The Government’s next witness, Datuk Eshah binti Meor Suleiman whom was the former Secretary of Investments, Ministry of Finance Inc and Privatization had testified and admitted in Court today that she has no personal knowledge on any of the Agreements signed between the Government and NFCorp.

She further testified when cross-examined by Datuk K. Kirubakaran, that she has no knowledge on the contents of the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim against the Defendants.

Rajan: According to your witness statement, you stated that the government had agreed to provide a grant of RM13 million via Department of Animal Services for the development of project infrastructure; so how is it that you say that you have no knowledge on these agreements?

Eshah: This letter I did sign, but its only a letter of decision. At MOF, there are other divisions that handle loans and another for grants.

Rajan: Do you agree with me that the government had agreed to provide a grant of RM13 million in respect of implementation of the project?

Eshah: I disagree. (Although she earlier stated the government was to provide such grant in her witness statement)

Rajan repeated the same question but he got the same answer. He proceeded to ask another question.

Rajan: Do you agree with me that the government did not fulfill its obligations in providing the grant of RM 13 million towards implementation of the project? (in reference to the letter)

Eshah: I disagree.

Rajan: Since you disagreed with my suggestion, please show the Court where is the evidence that the Government did in fact provide the grant of RM 13 million to 1st Defendant for purposes of implementation of the project?

Eshah: I don’t know.

The judge then intervened and told Eshah that if she doesn’t know the answer, she should say I’m not sure and not I disagree.

The case is now set for continued hearing before Judicial Commissioner Anand Ponnudurai from 10th to 13th March 2020. The Government was represented by Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Arshad and a team of lawyers from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

Prior to adjourning the hearing, the judge called all counsel to convene in his chamber.

NMT