Malaysia's haj fund says deposits are safe amid police reports on misuse by ex-top officials

Former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Rahim was remanded in September over alleged bribery and money laundering activities.
Former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Rahim was remanded in September over alleged bribery and money laundering activities.PHOTO: THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - Malaysia's Muslim pilgrimage fund on Sunday (Dec 2) assured its depositors that their savings are safe, following news of past misuse of monies by former top officials and current senior management staff.

Lembaga Tabung Haji group managing director and chief executive officer Zukri Samat said, in response to Bernama's query, that the police reports made against those cases had not impacted its operations.

"It is business as usual for us. Our depositors should trust that Tabung Haji will ensure their deposits are secure," he added.

Last Friday, the RM64 billion (S$21 billion) Tabung Haji lodged reports with the Commercial Crime Investigation Department against its former top officials.

They included former chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, former CEOs Ismee Ismail and Johan Abdullah, and four senior management staff - Adi Azuan (chief operating officer), Rozaida Omar (chief financial officer), Hazlina Mohd Khalid (legal adviser) and Rifina Md Ariff (senior general manager, corporate services and real estate).

The first report involves its charity foundation Yayasan Tabung Haji where, in its 2017 programme, funds totalling over RM22 million were alleged to have been disbursed for activities with political inclinations. This contravenes the fund's rules and regulations.

 

The fund was set up in 2016 to undertake, among others, humanitarian aid and to contribute to the underprivileged, the poor and the needy.

The second report relates to misrepresentations and withholding of material information involving Tabung Haji's 2012 sale of 95 per cent shareholdings in PT TH Indo Plantations held by its two subsidiaries, TH Indopalms and TH Indo Industries.

The stakes were sold to PT Borneo Pacific for US$910 million (some S$1.25 billion at today's exchange rate).

TH Indo Plantations owned 83,000ha of palm oil estates in Indonesia.

The reports lodged last Friday were the first following internal investigations into past transactions, spearheaded by the new management since July 2018.

Malaysia's de facto Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa last Saturday issued a statement reiterating that the government would not compromise on action against anyone involved in the embezzlement of the money for Tabung Haji depositors.