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Monday, December 31, 2012

PKR to block Deepak’s land deal through state govt

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli says as long as Pakatan Rakyat is holding Selangor, it will not allow the RM130 million land deal to go through.

PETALING JAYA: PKR, through the Selangor government, will block the RM130 million land deal between Lembaga Angakatan Tentera (LTAT)-linked company Bakti Wira Development Sdn Bhd and a Wanita Umno leader’s company.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the deal that involved some 200 acres of land in Bukit Raja, Selangor, came under final purview of the state government as it required transferring of titles.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia two days ago, Bakti Wira, a wholly-owned unit of Boustead Holdings Berhad, signed an agreement with Awan Megah, a vehicle company of Selangor Wanita Umno chief Raja Roppiaah Abdullah to acquire the freehold land at the said price.

This followed after carpet businessman Deepak Jaikishan’s company Astacanggih Sdn Bhd dropped a lawsuit against Awan Megah without clear reasons given.

Boustead subsequently agreed to purchase 80% stake in Astacanggih for RM30 million from the businessman who recently made a series of exposes on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s family.

“So long as Pakatan Rakyat holds Selangor, we would not allow the deal to go through. I would talk to the Selangor government next week. We would frustrate the deal,” Rafizi told a press conference today.

He said the deal did not make business sense and the sudden decision to acquire Deepak’s company only proved that the latter’s allegations were true.

Elaborating, he pointed out that Astacanggih did not have any assets besides the RM20 million shares, which was again shortchanged by its RM98 million debt with Kuwait Finance House.

“The RM30 million premium paid to Deepak was too high, for sure there was no independent valuation done. The only explanation is that it arose out of a willing seller and willing buyer basis. This means the transaction was made out of political considerations,” he said.

“By fair sense and fair logic, unless the allegations made by Deepak carry truth and velocity, Najib wouldn’t have reacted in that way. Because by an open transaction, it would open the duo to public scrutiny,” he added.

Rafizi suspected that Najib had tasked Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi with handling the case as the latter’s ministry oversees the LTAT, which owned the acquirer company indirectly.

The PKR leader also pointed out that the transaction was a clear act of abuse of power as Zahid had allowed some RM160 million of pensioners’ money to be put at risk.

This was because Boustead’s capitals and activities were dependent on armed forces servicemen’s contributions, he explained.

“It’s ridiculous, because you already lost RM230 million to the cow rearing project, now you want to lose another RM160 million,” he said.

‘Why on earth would you do that?’

On the plot of land in Bukit Raja, Rafizi echoed Deepak’s statement yesterday that Boustead was virtually buying a land which had yet to be transferred from the government’s account to Awan Megah.

The 200-acre of land originally belonged to the government and was supposed to be transferred to Awan Canggih in exchange for the privatisation deal.

However, the Selangor government had never approved the transfer of land title.

Meanwhile, Rafizi also claimed that Boustead via another subsidiary company Jendela Hikmat Sdn Bhd had acquired an adjacent plot of land, which is 236 hectares, for RM230 million in 2005.

He said this meant that Boustead last bought a plot of land around that area at RM390,000 per acre and now it wanted to acquire the one from Awan Megah at RM650,000 per acre.

“So far I have not met any land that can appreciate twice the value just by being idle.

“Why would you want to add your land bank since you did not develop the land (which you already own), unless it is cheaper. Why on earth would you do that?” he asked.

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