Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discrepancies in PNSB's Purchase of Saudi Apartments

Discrepencies in PNSB's purchase of Saudi apartments

SHAH ALAM (Feb 24, 2009) : The Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI), a state government subsidiary, said today there were discrepancies in Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad's (PNSB) purchase of properties of Al Marwa Tower Makkah, Saudi Arabia in 2007.

The Mentri Besar's Office said in a statement today the discrepancies were detected by external auditors and brought to the attention of MBI's current board of directors which has appointed advisers to evaluate expenses of the state government's subsidiaries.

The discrepancies were uncovered amid concerns by MBI over PNSB's delay in finalising the 2007 financial accounts.

The statement said, according to the PNSB Directors Circular Resolution dated Sept 14, 2007, PNSB had approved the purchase of five units of properties amounting to RM8,352,427.66.
However, records showed that PNSB had between Sept 17 and Sept 19, 2007 transferred RM25,603,545 to Saudi Arabia for 12 units of properties.

Between Sept 25, 2007 and Oct 3, 2007 PNSB received cheques amounting to RM17,251,092 from an individual – said to be for the purchase of seven units from PNSB at the price PNSB had paid for. No official receipt was issued to acknowledge it.

It has come to the attention of board of directors this year that PNSB prepared and signed four cheques amounting to RM8,000,205.20 to an individual, who is the same person who had earlier handed over cheques to PNSB amounting to RM17,251,032 stated above.

However, three of the four cheques prepared and signed by authorised signatories were later cancelled.

The fourth cheque amounting RM2 million was released and banked into the account of the individual. PNSB then arranged with the bank to stop payment.

"Between the date of the acquisition of the additional seven units making a total of 12 units and the disposal of the seven units leaving five units in PNSB's hand, there was no board of directors meeting or Board of Directors Circular Resolution for the transaction.

"Up to the point of issuance and cancellation of cheques to the individual, no board minutes or circular resolution were made," said the statement.

"It should be noted that the acquisition was made in the name of then PNSB chairman Datuk Sri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo as Saudi requirement that properties within the Mecca area must be in the name of Muslim individuals."

At the board of directors meeting in December 2007, Khir disclosed that the properties were in his name but assured the directors he would not be making any claim over them.

However, there was no mention of the exact number of units held by him.

"The above actions are certainly puzzling. Why did PNSB pay more than RM25 million when the board only approved about RM8 million for five units?

"Why did it then accept about RM17 million – said to be for the sale of the seven units? Why did it then attempt to re-purchase the units it had sold off?"

The statement said Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the current MBI chairman, intends to find the answers to the above questions and will not hesitate to take strong action should there be any criminality involved.
(extracted from Fudzail-Dubai Version)
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