By Hafidz Baharom and Leannza Chia
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 – Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil today blamed The Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini for misrepresenting the Auditor General’s report in describing the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) as being in a mess, the High Court hearing her defamation suit against two PKR leaders was told today.
The 2010 Auditor-General’s report had stated NFCorp had not met obligations owed to the government, but the RM250 million publicly-funded cattle-raising scheme was first coined a “mess” in an article in English daily The Star after the audit cited it for failing to meet production targets.
The term was later repeated by other media organisations to describe NFCorp after PKR launched a series of exposés to show that the project’s funds had been allegedly abused.
The company’s assets were frozen after investigations were launched by the police and the national anti-graft body following the revelations.
During cross-examination in her defamation case against PKR’s Zuraidah Kamaruddin and Rafizi Ramli today, lawyer Ranjit Singh asked Shahrizat (picture) if she was embarrassed by the reporting of both media outlets on October 24 2011 saying that the Auditor General report showed NFCorp made a mess of the national feedlot project.
“I felt that they had misconstrued or misrepresented the Auditor General, and it was important for the misrepresentation to be cleared up,” she said.
Shahrizat, who is the wife of NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, had been linked to the scandal by PKR because of her husband’s position, and their three children’s directorships in the same firm.
Mohamed Salleh was charged with criminal breach of trust and violating the Companies Act in relation to RM49 million in federal funds given to NFCorp on March 12.
The 64-year-old was charged under the Penal Code relating to CBT for misappropriating RM9,758,140 from NFCorp’s funds to purchase two condominium units at the One Menerung complex in Bangsar for the National Meat and Livestock Corporation (NMLC) on December 1 and December 4, 2009.
He was also charged with transferring RM40 million of NFCorp’s funds to the NMLC between May 6 and November 16, 2009.
He was further charged in both cases for using the said funds without any approval from company’s annual general meeting, which is an offence under the Companies Act.
If found guilty, he faces between two and 20 years’ imprisonment, whipping, and a fine for the offences under the Penal Code.
Mohamad Salleh also faces a five-year jail term or RM30,000 fine for the charges proffered under the Companies Act.
MORE TO COME