National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFC) chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail has questioned Putrajaya’s decision to file a suit against him and his three children, despite the family agreeing last year to repay the over RM250 million loan in full.
This comes after Putrajaya is reportedly suing Salleh, the husband of former BN minister Sharizat Abdul Jalil, and the couple’s three children – former NFC CEO Wan Shahinur Izran and directors Wan Shahinur Izmir and Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah – to reclaim RM253.6 million owed to the government over the national feedlot centre project.
"I am questioning the attorney-general’s action towards me and my family since NFC had offered last year to repay the loan in full.
"NFC has already began the process of redeveloping and restructuring the company.
"We had several discussions with the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry, and this effort was well received," he said in a statement today.
Salleh claimed that the company had sent a letter on the full repayment to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on May 17, but had yet to receive a reply.
"I wish to take the opportunity to state that I will give my full cooperation to the country’s legal process," he said.
"I also wish to state that I, as do all Malaysians, wish for the issue to be settled in the nearest future.
"Besides, this will help lighten the nation’s financial load."
Salleh also expressed the hope that with the resolution of the loan affair, the potential of the company could be fully realised.
The NFC project was launched in 2007 to monitor, guide and train contract farmers to develop an integrated and sustainable beef industry to increase local beef production by 30 percent and reduce reliance on imported beef.
However, an audit found that the project was not meeting its targets, while Salleh was investigated and charged with alleged criminal breach of trust amounting to RM49.7 million.
He was subsequently acquitted of all charges in 2015.
It was reported earlier today that Putrajaya named six companies controlled by the family as among the 11 defendants named in the suit.
The six are National Meat & Livestock Corp Sdn Bhd, Real Food Co Sdn Bhd, Meatworks Corp Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, Asian Bioscience Corp Sdn Bhd and Techknowlogy Imageware (M) Sdn Bhd.
In the statement of claim, the government is seeking a court declaration that Salleh’s family is personally liable for the debt repayment.
This included the RM118.04 million misappropriated from the loan, and secret profits arising from it, said the report.
The government is also claiming properties bought using a RM250 million soft loan given to NFC in December 2007 to partially finance the setting up of the national feedlot centre in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.
It was reported in April that the government was in negotiations with a local company that has expressed interest in buying over and reviving the NFC project.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub had stated it would be sold if the interested company agreed to service the RM250 million loan, and the company would then be rebranded.
He was quoted as saying last year that the NFC project must be revived for the government to achieve the 30 percent target of local beef production.