Felda will extend cooperation to MACC, says Shahrir after latest raid on FIC office

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will extend its full cooperation to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in its investigations over a London hotel deal.

"We support MACC's efforts and will give our full cooperation on any investigation related to FIC (Felda Investment Corporation) or Felda," Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad told reporters at a press conference today.

Shahrir said the MACC conducted a raid at FIC's office this morning due to new evidence found in relation to FIC's acquisition of the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London.

"We are happy that there is new information. Felda has signed an anti-corruption pledge and implemented a whistle-blowing policy, which means that in our daily practice, we will help MACC in their efforts to curb corruption, provide information and protect whistle blowers," said Shahrir.

FIC in a statement confirmed that eight MACC officers visited their office to investigate the purchase of the hotel in London.

"FIC will give full support and cooperation in enabling the authorities to carry out a detailed and thorough investigation.

"FIC is committed to support efforts by the relevant parties to enhance transparency and ethical business practice as key features of good corporate governance," the statement read.

Shahrir said he was unaware of the details of the new evidence. He also declined to comment on who MACC will haul up for questioning, saying that he does not want to meddle in MACC's investigation.

"This is an old investigation, an old case. From what I understand from MACC's statement, they have new evidence," he added.

MACC had in May 2015 cleared Felda's top management of any wrongdoing over the acquisition, following investigations on claims that the management had paid much more for the hotel than its original price.

On whether the removal of FIC's entire board of directors in January 2017 was related to this case, Shahrir said the removal was because he was not satisfied with FIC's performance.

"I removed them because I'm not happy with the performance of FIC. Whether there are anomalies or otherwise, the performance speaks for itself," he said.

Earlier in January, Shahrir instructed the entire board of directors to resign and a new board of directors were appointed in March. He said the removal was part of the process of improving Felda's management and integrity.

FIC said in a statement today that eight officers from MACC visited its office in Balai Felda to investigate the purchase of the FIC hotel in London.

"FIC is giving full support and cooperation in enabling the authorities to carry out a detailed and thorough investigation. FIC is committed to support efforts by the relevant parties to enhance transparency, accountability, integrity and ethical business practice as key features of good corporate governance," it said.

Meanwhile, MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki when contacted confirmed the matter and said the investigation team would look into all the documents and information that had been obtained from the FIC office.

He also said important witnesses would be called today to record their statements to enable the investigating team to complete the investigation papers.