Former Mara Chair, CEO, Named in Audit on Dubious Aussie Property Buys

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Three senior Mara Inc-linked officials have been identified as central figures in an explosive report prepared for the government. It has laid bare some supposed complex and dubious deals through a maze of transactions via companies registered in the British Virgin Isles (BVI).

Mohd Lan Allani

Former Mara Inc chairperson Mohd Lan Allani, former CEO Abdul Halim Rahim, and its head of property investment Zainal Zol Kulop Alang are among dozens of personalities here and in Australia named in the report.

The Melbourne-based The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have obtained a leaked draft report by auditors Ernst and Young prepared for the Malaysian government.

Malaysiakini is unable to independently verify the report. Repeated efforts to reach Mohd Lan Allani, Abdul Halim and Zainal Zol were unsuccessful.

It, among others, alleges multiple serving and former officials – including a powerful Malaysian political figure – may have extracted bribes worth up to A$23.5 million (RM70 million) by laundering funds via Australian property.

Abdul Halim Rahim

The report alleges that Mohd Lan, Abdul Halim, and Zainal Zol potentially had “prior knowledge of the acquisition and had instructed the valuer, Raine & Horne to perform the valuation earlier or on the day of the letter of offer.”

746 Swanston Street

This is in relation to two properties acquired by Mara Inc as student accommodations – 746 Swanston Street and Dudley House.

The report said: “On Aug 28, 2012, Mara Inc entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Scarlett Nominees, a BVI company, to acquire 100 percent shares of Thrushcross in a A$41.8 million (RM125.4 million) deal to acquire Swanston. However, based on the transfer of land title document, the Swanston title was only transferred to Thrushcross approximately 3.5 months later on Dec 19, 2012.”

“On Feb 25, 2013, Mara Inc via Thrushcross (which became a subsidiary of Mara Inc at the material time) entered into the contract of sale of real estate (CSRE) with two other companies – Wanissa Properties Pte Ltd and PMCD Investments Pty Ltd (PMCD) which were both the registered owner of Dudley, for the acquisition of Dudley at A$22.6 million (RM67.8 million).”

Dudley House

Mara Inc, the report alluded, acquired Swanston and Dudley at $A18.3 million (RM54.9 million) and A$4.75 million (RM14.37 million) respectively, higher than the market value and these were transacted without approval from parent bodies Majlis Mara, the Rural Development Ministry, and the Finance Ministry.

Mara Inc had also entered into the SPA to acquire the shares in Thrushcross prior to obtaining the approval from Majlis Mara and the relevant ministries. The management of Mara Inc also reportedly made unauthorised payments for the acquisition of Thrushcross as the initial approval was only given to Mara Inc for the acquisition of Swanston directly, rather than the acquisition of Thrushcross.

The report also noted that Erwan Azizi, as the executive director of Thrushcross, had signed the letter of offer to Mara Inc for the sale of Swanston on June 4, 2012. However, Erwan was only appointed as a director of Thrushcross on Dec 11, 2012.

The Age

Erwan Azizi

The report categorically stated the purchase of Dudley from Wanissa was between related parties – Erwan Azizi as director of Thrushcross and his father, Azizi Yom Ahmad, as director of Wanissa.

In addition, Raine & Horne submitted the valuation on June 5, 2012 – only one day after the receipt of the letter of offer for the sale of Swanston. Furthermore, the title searches were performed on the same day – June 4, 2012.

The letter of offer for the sale of Dudley to Mara Inc on Sept 3, 2012, was signed by Dennis Teen Boon Lye who is also a shareholder and director of Wanissa, which is one of the owners of Dudley. – Malaysiakini