PETALING JAYA: Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Akhbar Satar has urged the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) to ensure that its integrity is upheld, following reports of financial irregularities implicating its board members.
Akhbar was commenting on the probe into the Felcra board by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over questionable payments to board members, noting that the authority had signed the corporate integrity pledge (CIP) last year.
He pointed out that even though Felcra did not break any pledges or promises as the signing took place in September last year, while the period under scrutiny is from 2010 to 2012, the current management team must now “walk the talk”.
“They have signed the pledge, and I hope they will conduct themselves with more integrity and that this will not happen again. This is public money. You’re not supposed to do this with public money,” Akhbar said.
Yesterday, The Edge Financial Daily reported that Felcra paid honorariums amounting to RM700,000 from 2010 to 2012 to its board of directors despite not receiving any approval from the Finance Ministry.
Akhbar also strongly urged PAC and its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed to probe into the matter thoroughly and to leave no stone unturned. “A thorough investigation must be conducted. How can you take the money first and then apply for approval later … especially when the approval was denied in the first place?
“We need to see if there were breaches in the Company Act and if there was any criminal breach of trust or any conflicts of interest.
“Let the PAC probe first and if there is evidence of corporate crime, they must take action. The (Felcra) board must have integrity. This is public money and they should have followed the Finance Ministry’s instructions.
“If criminal elements [are] found, criminal action must be taken against them,” Akhbar said.
Felcra was represented by current chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin and chief executive officer Datuk Ramlee Abu Bakar in the CIP signing The event was witnessed by Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Ironically, during the signing ceremony, Shafie reportedly said that Felcra’s pledge in the CIP is a sign that the government is “serious in putting an end to corruption”.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 9, 2014.