Judge: RM250m suit against NFC to resume if no settlement by May

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court will resume the trial of a suit filed by Putrajaya to recover about RM250 million in loan payments and interest from National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) should there be no settlement in four months.

Rosdan Wahid/NST

Judicial commissioner Anand Ponnudurai said he took into account that this is a national project and a revival is a possibility.

“This is not purely a monetary claim,” he said, adding that the trial will continue on May 17 if parties did not reach a settlement.

Anand said he would also like the case to be concluded by this year.

“Normally I am hard-pressed to give an adjournment but seeing the facts of this case, I take it there is a good chance of the matter being settled,” he added.

FMT reported yesterday that NFC and others had sent a letter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for “a global settlement”.

Today, parties reported to the judge on the latest developments with the possibility of the suit being settled without having to go through a trial.

Senior federal counsel Asliza Ali told the court the settlement was now in the hands of the finance ministry and related agencies.

NFC’s lawyer, K Kirubakaran told FMT that his client is keen to resolve the matter and revive the project through a third party.

NFC, its chairman Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who is the husband of former Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, their three children, and six companies owned by the family were named the defendants in the suit, filed in June 2019.

The total of RM253.62 million claimed against NFC and Salleh’s family represents the sum owed to the government, together with interest at 2% per annum and default interest on RM224.77 million.

Putrajaya is also seeking a declaration to hold Salleh’s family personally liable for the debt repayment of RM118.04 million allegedly misappropriated from the loan.

It said it is also entitled to claim equitable titles to the properties bought using NFC’s RM250 million loan from the government.

In 2007, the government approved a RM250 million loan to NFC to turn the local cattle industry into a large-scale business with the aim of helping Malaysia become self-sufficient in beef production.

In its defence, NFC said the repayment of the loan is very much dependent on the government making available the necessary infrastructure, including the export quality abattoir in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.

The government never did that and instead, the project was suspended.

Further, whatever property invested or purchased from part of the loan sum was also seized. – FMT