Probe Reveals Tabung Haji Failed to Declare RM10B Losses

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A special briefing on Wednesday for Pakatan Harapan lawmakers on the Tabung Haji controversy revealed the fund suffered losses amounting to RM10 billion which were kept off the books.

“Yesterday’s revelations were a real shock to us. We knew that in 2017, there was a deficit of RM4.1 billion, but there were (loss) figures that were unrecorded. And yesterday, this was explained in a detailed and clear manner,” said Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasurullah Mohd Nasir.

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He said it was disclosed in the briefing held in Parliament that Tabung Haji’s high exposure to Felda Global Venture (FGV) shares, which the haj fund had bought at inflated prices, was among the loss-making causes.

“It was revealed that when FGV shares fell…there were unrecorded losses and that in reality, the money (invested in FGV) is all gone,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Interest in Tabung Haji peaked when the Pakatan Harapan government initiated investigations into the agency’s financial accounts last year.

A special audit of the fund for the financial year 2017, by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that TH had paid dividends to depositors using money from the depositors’ savings fund and not from the declared profits.

A report that was tabled in Parliament in December revealed TH had made two deals that made it appear that the dividends came from the fund’s profits and that it had also overstated the value of its assets. The report highlighted several questionable transactions.

Parliament was also told that TH was sitting on up to RM10.2 billion in losses in equities and that its liabilities outstripped its assets of RM9 billion.

Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul, who also attended the briefing yesterday, said he was shocked and saddened to hear how almost all of Tabung Haji’s investments and businesses had failed.

“Losses of RM4 billion for 2017. I think Tabung Haji should just stop doing business,” he said.

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“The depositors’ money should not be used to invest in businesses, but should be placed in a fixed deposit or other financial instrument. Almost all of Tabung Haji’s businesses have made losses.”

Kapar MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid said he was confident the new government’s efforts to recoup Tabung Haji’s losses and turn the agency around would yield results.

“Right now there are efforts to turn things around and the problem has been identified. After this, there will be no more embezzlement.”

The MPs were briefed on the government’s decision to move some TH assets to an SPV (special purpose vehicle) to clean up its balance sheet.

Yesterday in parliament, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said corruption in the pilgrims’ fund had affected Tabung Haji’s ability to pay dividends to its 9.3 million depositors.

For 2017, TH announced a rate of 4.5%, and a 1.75% special dividend for depositors yet to perform the haj.

Akmal said he was confident the fund would still pay the 2018 dividends, but warned that “depositors should not hope to get a high dividend”. – TMI