By Shannon Teoh
PETALING JAYA, May 30 — Rafizi Ramli accused Bank Negara Malaysia today of clamping down on whistleblowers while failing to probe alleged money laundering by the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), after being summoned by the central bank under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA).
The PKR strategic director, who has been at the forefront of exposés on the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal involving a RM250 million government loan, will be questioned by Bank Negara investigators this afternoon, two weeks after an ex-Public Bank clerk was hauled up under the same law.
“I am curious why Bank Negara is not taking action on Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his family who clearly transferred public funds illegally to their companies in Singapore and Kazakhstan.
“They have admitted to this. Shouldn’t this be investigated by Bank Negara under the Anti-Money Laundering Act? So far, there has been no response from Bank Negara,” he said, referring to the family of former Cabinet minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, which owns NFCorp.
He said the move to summon him for investigations showed “the authorities do not welcome whistleblowers”. He then challenged Datuk Seri Najib Razak to deny that his administration was victimising informants and protecting those involved in corruption.
The opposition has alleged that NFCorp directors used the loan meant for a federal cattle farming scheme to buy or finance properties in Kazakhstan and Singapore worth at least RM45 million, and siphon out at least RM12 million to their own companies in the island state.
PKR also accused NFCorp earlier this month of “hunting down” alleged whistleblowers to “put the lid on” claims the company abused the RM250 million federal loan to finance property, luxury cars and expenses unrelated to cattle farming.
The party held a press conference on May 14 with a former Public Bank clerk, Johari Mohamad, who said he has been “pressured for months before resigning” on May 2 after a domestic inquiry was held due to a complaint by NFCorp chairman Mohamad Salleh.
The 41-year-old has also been summoned by Bank Negara investigators to provide information under the BAFIA, under which NFCorp has lodged complaints over bank details exposed by PKR.
NFCorp also sued Public Bank for loss of reputation as a result of an alleged breach of its security that resulted in the private banking information of the company, its chairman and related companies being “exposed to the world at large.”
NFCorp was tasked with running the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) that the government recently said it will tender out to another company.
The firm hit the headlines last year when the Auditor-General reported that it had missed production targets.
Shahrizat, who was a minister when the project was awarded to her family in 2006, relinquished her Cabinet post in early April over the allegations against her family.
On March 12, Salleh, pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million with regards to the purchase of two condominium units.
He also pleaded not guilty to two other charges under the Companies Act.