Felda: Najib cheated into investing billions in Indonesian firm

Felda: Najib cheated into investing billions in Indonesian firm

PETALING JAYA: A police report yesterday lodged by Felda reveals that it was cheated by Najib Razak into investing US$505 million (RM2.3 billion) in an Indonesian plantation firm owned by a friend of the former prime minister.

According to the report lodged at the Dang Wangi police headquarters yesterday, Felda director-general Othman Omar said the amount paid to acquire a 37% stake in Eagle High Plantations TBK (EHP) was 344% more than its actual value of US$114 million.

EHP is part of the Rajawali Group owned by Peter Sondakh, whom Othman said was close to Najib.

He said Felda took a RM4.8 billion loan to finance the deal from GovCo Holdings Bhd (GovCo), a subsidiary of the finance ministry then headed by Najib.

“Following the purchase by Felda at RM2.3 billion, it suffered losses when the value as of last month was just RM555 million,” Othman said.

He said Najib had in 2015 directed Felda through its special purpose vehicle FIC Properties Sdn Bhd to invest in EHP, after earlier approaching Felda’s FGV Bhd as well as the Malaysian Plantation Oil Board (MPOB) and Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB).

Othman said the deal, signed by then-Felda chairman Isa Samad, was “one-sided” and “risky”, adding that EHP had debts of US$547.4 million in 2014 and liabilities of US$676.9 million in 2016.

He said the company also had no sustainable palm-oil accreditation, and would never be able to get the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in the next 10 years.

It also said the deal went against findings by auditors BDO Malaysia and KPMG Malaysia, due diligence undertaken by Indonesian law firm Hiswara Bunjamin Tandjung and a presentation by JP Morgan.

Felda defended the deal two years ago, saying it needed “a strong local partner to materialise its business plan to expand in Indonesia”.

“As Rajawali Group is among the largest conglomerates in Indonesia, it is a much sought-after partner not only in the plantation sector but also other related businesses,” it had said.

It was reported earlier this year that Felda was seeking to dispose of its stakes in EHP.

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