PUTRAJAYA - The former chairman of Malaysia's land development agency Felda was interviewed by police on Thursday morning (Jan 4) over a land scandal involving the agency and a private developer, a news site said.
Former chairman of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Isa Samad, gave his statement at the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun was quoted as saying by The Malay Mail Online (MMO) news.
Felda said late last month (December) that it had been defrauded of RM270 million (S$89 million) in a case involving four plots of land in Kuala Lumpur.
The 2014 case involves what the agency believes was the transfer of four plots of its land to a private developer with Felda not receiving a single cent, its new chairman Shahrir Abdul Samad had said.
The private developer was named by Malaysian media as Synergy Promenade Sdn Bhd, with the plots of land in downtown KL being developed as the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City consisting of seven towers.
Tan Sri Isa was Felda chairman from 2011 until January 2017, before he was replaced by Tan Sri Shahrir.
The case is being closely watched because it added to other financial woes engulfing Felda and its listed unit Felda Global Ventures (FGV).
Felda is close to the hearts of many Malaysian Malays due to its history of alleviating poverty among the majority race.
The agency looks after the welfare of some 1.2 million Malay farmers and their multigenerational families, who are mostly staunch voters of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi said on Thursday that several other people will also be called in soon for the investigation into the case.
"There are several other individuals who are connected to this case, but I don't want to reveal (names)," he told reporters, as quoted by MMO.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said late on Thursday that an external audit firm has been appointed by the Prime Minister’s Department to conduct a forensic audit on the Kuala Lumpur Vertical City project.
He said in a statement that the auditor would conduct a forensic audit of all activities, decisions and actions relating to the project.
“It will also re-evaluate the relevant regulatory processes, including weaknesses in the internal administration as well as Felda’s supervision of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC).
“The audit firm’s investigation will also encompass the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Land and Mines Office and Kuala Lumpur City Hall,” Datuk Seri Najib said.