The NFCorp began in 2006 when AISB (Agro-based Industry contracted Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd) was contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture to develop an integrated livestock farming and beef production facility. The objective was to boost and achieve nation’s beef self-sufficiency. AISB then set up NFCorp (National Feedlot Corporation), which was awarded the project on 27 October 2006.
On 6 December 2007, NFCorp was given a RM250 million, 2%-interest, soft loan to start the noble project. By February 2008, NFCorp imported 904 cattle for the project. But on top of the RM250 million easy loans, the government had spent RM48.71 million to develop the project between 2007 and 2010. In addition, the government had also given a RM13 million launching grant to NFCorp.
So, the project had actually taken up RM311.71 million of taxpayer’s money before a single cow could be produced. But that was just the beginning of the “Cowgate” scandal after the project was awarded to the family of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in 2006, who was then the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, as well as the UMNO women chief.
As NFCorp Chairman, Mohammad Salleh Ismail – husband of Shahrizat – paid himself RM100,000 monthly salary. His 31-year-old son Izmir Salleh was paid RM45,000 monthly as executive director. Another son Izran Salleh, 27, commanded RM35,000 a month as CEO while 25-year-old daughter Izzanah Salleh was paid RM35,000 as a director. The family was paid a total sum of RM215,000 every month.
In 2011, the NFCorp exploded into a full-blown scandal after the Auditor-General’s Report’s highlighted that the RM74 million centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan only achieved 3,289 heads of cattle, when there should be 8,000 cows, suggesting that close to“60% of cows” were missing. Shahrizat’s husband denied that the project was in a mess, insisting his family is on track to produce 60,000 cows by 2015.
Shahrizat’s son admitted in November 2011 that the family of Salleh had used nearly RM600,000 of the NFCorp funds to pay for credit card expenses, but argued that they were used for “business development purposes”. Later, it was exposed that at least RM62 million was spent by the despicable family members on – among other things – several up-scale apartments in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
NFCorp fund was diverted to purchase 2 plots of lands (worth RM3.3 million), a RM534,622 Mercedes Benz CLS 350 CGI, three fine-dining restaurants (Meatworks, Senor Santos and Brawns Steakhouse), 2 units of “One Menerung” luxury condominium at Bangsar (RM6.9 million each), a RM9.9 million luxury condo at Orchard Scotts and two condos at Marina Bay Financial Center suites costing RM34.6 million.
In fact, Shahrizat herself admitted that NFCorp transferred over RM500,000 to Meatworks (Singapore) Private Limited, which was owned by her family, to buy a condominium in Singapore. The Marina Bay luxury suites were bought under the names of NFCorp Chairman Mohamed Salleh Ismail and his son, Wan Shahinur Izran Salleh.
Clearly, there were overwhelming evidence of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of power, although amusingly, Shahrizat claimed that she had nothing to do with how the NFCorp got a RM250 million soft loan while she was a member of the Cabinet. Heck, Shahrizat had even claimed that she and her husband did not talk about NFCorp, although they slept together.
Eventually, Mohamad Salleh was charged in March 2012 with two counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM49.7 million of the company’s funds. However, as expected, he was acquitted in November 2015 of the charges, Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Norsharidah Awang granted Salleh the acquittal after lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah “met in her chambers”.
Surprisingly, the judge did not give any reason for her decision. Shafee Abdullah is the same hotshot corrupt lawyer currently representing former prime minister Najib Razak in his trial on charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust (CBT) with regards to RM42 million transferred to his accounts from SRC International Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of 1MDB.
Coincidentally, it was former Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali, who had consented to give the husband of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. Mr. Apandi was the same disgraced A.G. who was appointed by Najib to clear him of any wrongdoing with regard to RM2.6 billion (US$681 million) of money stolen from 1MDB fund.
Instead, former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad was charged with abetting Rafizi Ramli, the whistleblower and politician who exposed the “Cowgate Scandal”. They were charged under Section 112(1)(a) of the BAFIA, the law that deals with confidential banking information. Together with the police and judiciary, NFCorp turned the table and hunted the innocent whistleblowers.
In fact, the previous Barisan Nasional government was so corrupt that not only NFCorp used all its political muscles to prosecute whistleblowers who exposed the misappropriation of RM250 million of public money, they had even sued Public Bank for RM560 million, claiming that the Salleh family suffered irrecoverable losses and bad reputation due to the leaked bank accounts.
Unfortunately to Salleh and Shahrizat, Barisan Nasional’s 61 years of ruling came to an abrupt end in May 2018 general election. Four days after the new Pakatan Harapan took over the government, the Court of Appeal set aside a High Court’s earlier order for Rafizi Ramli to pay RM200,000 in damages to NFCorp chairman Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his company for defaming them.
Not only the Court of Appeal unanimously ordered Mohamad Salleh to refund a total sum of RM300,000 (RM200,000 in damages and RM100,000 costs, which was paid by Rafizi to Salleh), the court also ordered the NFCorp chairman to pay Rafizi RM110,000 for the costs of proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. But the nightmare for Shahrizat and his family has just begun.
Now, the Attorney-General’s Chambers has filed a statement of claim (SoC) against the NFCorp over a sum of RM253.62 million owed to the government. The lawsuit, filed with the Kuala Lumpur High Court last Friday (May 31), as reported by the Edge, is for the recovery of outstanding loan amount which stood at RM253,618,455.03, as of April 30, 2019.
“From this sum, RM110,840,854.28 is the amount due for repayment to the federal government as of April 30, 2019, consisting of loan principal arrears of RM81,987,629.65, loan interest of RM22,967,131.55 and late interest charges of RM5,886,093.08.” – according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance.
Apparently, NFCorp has only made repayments amounting to RM34.98 million for 2012 and 2013, but had failed to settle its 2014 instalment. Curiously, even though the then-Barisan Nasional government under Najib Razak had issued a notice of non-payment – even a notice to terminate the agreement – Shahrizat Jalil and his husband Mohamad Salleh and children were as free as a bird.
Mohamad Salleh today (May 3) said he was puzzled why the new government has decided to slap him with the suit, saying that it had last year offered to pay in full the RM250 million loan it took more than 10 years ago. Three of his children, together with 6 other companies owned by the family have been named in the lawsuit claim.
The husband of Shahrizat has claimed that a new buyer of NFCorp was willing to fully settle the outstanding loan. Clearly, the family of crooks had no intention to repay the money misappropriated until the Barisan Nasional coalition was toppled last May. Shahrizat Jalil herself has been keeping an extremely low profile since the collapse of the Najib regime.
The idea of getting a new buyer to take over NFCorp’s debts was to cleanse the family of any wrongdoing. The latest SSM (Companies Commission of Malaysia) search conducted as of 17 May 2019 only listed Mohammad Salleh Ismail as the sole director of NFCorp, while the names of his 3 children were missing – suggesting that they were in the process of passing the bucks to the new owner.
Make no mistake. The crooked families of Shahrizat Jalil, former Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, has no money to pay the RM250 million they had plundered and stolen. Even if they have the money, they have no intention of paying as that would invite the attention of the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for the possibility of tax evasion.
Sure, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub has confirmed that a local corporation has expressed interest in buying over the scandalous National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp). But he was probably too dumb to realize that Shahrizat and her husband was desperately wanting to get rid of the toxic and debt-infected company.
Had the crooks succeeded in selling back the NFCorp to the new government, or a subsidiary or a crony of the agriculture ministry, Mohamad Salleh and his three children – Izran Salleh, Izmir Salleh, Izzana Salleh – will be as clean as a whistle. Between 2008 and 2011, the families of Salleh had misappropriated at least RM118.04 million, the amount out of RM180.51 million given by the old government.
In actuality, not only should Mohamad Salleh and his three children made to return the RM250 million siphoned away, the criminal breach of trust (CBT) case against them should be re-opened for obvious reason. If the family can be forgiven for returning the misappropriated RM250 million, does that mean Najib Razak can also be pardoned if he too returns RM42 million he had plundered from SRC or RM2.6 billion he had stolen from 1MDB?