Najib appoints external audit firm to probe Felda's KLVC project

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4): An external audit firm has been appointed by the Prime Minister's Department to conduct a forensic audit on the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City (KLVC) project that is being developed on land owned by the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

He said in a statement today that the audit firm will conduct a forensic audit of all activities, decisions and actions related to the project. The project's developer is Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd (SPSB).

"It will also re-evaluate the relevant regulatory processes, including weaknesses in the internal administration as well as Felda's supervision of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC)," Najib said.

"This audit firm's investigation will also encompass the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Land and Mines Office and Kuala Lumpur City Hall. The audit firm's investigation is expected to be completed within 30 days and a full report will be submitted to the Prime Minister's Department," he said.

The appointment of the audit firm, he said, came after his letter to Felda dated Dec 11, 2017, which directed them to determine whether there was non-compliance with existing procedures or if there were elements of abuse of power and corruption pertaining to the KLVC project.

Najib also directed Felda to lodge a police report against SPSB for criminal fraud and to take legal action for civil fraud for the transfer of Felda property rights without knowledge and permission.

On Dec 21, 2017, it was reported by a local daily that Felda risked losing ownership of a piece of land worth RM200 million along Jalan Semarak, as a result of a "dubious deal" that took place in 2015.

The news report, quoting a source, said the ownership transfer of the land took place when Felda's investment arm, Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC), appointed a local company as its main developer in June 2014. The developer was given full power of attorney to develop the land.

The report also said all decisions pertaining to the appointment of the company were believed to have been made by FIC, and that Felda's board of directors were only informed three months following that, for retrospective approval.

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad was Felda chairman from 2011 until January 2017. During that time, he was also chairman at Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (from Jan 1, 2011 until June 19, 2017), as well as at FIC (July 2013 until 2017).

The land, now slated for the KLVC project, will comprise seven towers, including Felda's iconic KLVC Tower 1A, it was reported.

"I have instructed these actions to be taken to safeguard and not to compromise the interests of Felda and its settlers, so as to ensure that the land remains as the property of Felda," said Najib today.

"The police have also conducted an investigation and a caveat has been placed on the land in question. As such, reports saying that the land has been lost are incorrect. The registrar's caveat on the land will ensure that Felda's interests are safeguarded.

"Legal action will be taken if the investigations of the external audit firm and the police indicate wrongdoing by those involved in the project which was agreed upon in 2014," Najib added.