8 Things To Know About Tabung Haji's "Missing" RM4 Billion And Alleged Misuse Of Funds

The pilgrimage fund's police reports against its former leadership last week has opened a few new cans of worms.

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On 29 November, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) came under public scrutiny after the pilgrimage fund's new management lodged two police reports against its former leadership over TH's past financial transactions

According to Malaysiakini, the board proceeded with the reports based on internal investigations launched by the new management after it was appointed to the board in July 2018. 

The reports have since opened a few new cans of worms. Here's all you need to know about what has transpired since:

1. Seven officers in TH's former senior management team were named in the reports, including former chairperson Abdul Azeez Rahim

From left: Former TH chairperson Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim, and former TH CEOs Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah.

Image via Berita Harian

Just a few months ago, in September, Abdul Azeez and his brother were arrested and had their homes and offices searched under suspicion of money laundering by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

In addition to Abdul Azeez, Malaysiakini reported that TH also named former CEOs Ismee Ismail and Johan Abdullah, chief operating officer Adi Azuan Abdul Ghani, chief financial officer Rozaida Omar, legal adviser Hazlina Mohd Khalid, and senior general manager for corporate services and real estate Rifina Md Ariff in their reports.

Malaysiakini noted that Ismee, a "known associate" of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, was also sued by Felda Global Ventures Bhd last week in efforts to recover RM514 million of lost funds. 

2. TH's first report alleged that RM22 million from Yayasan Tabung Haji (YTH) was used for political activities, which contravenes its memorandum and articles of association

The RM22 million is reported to involve YTH's 2017 programme. At the time, according to New Straits Times, the foundation's trustees were Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez, Tan Sri Ismee, Datuk Seri Johan, Datuk Adi, and Datuk Rozaida.

According to The Edge, YTH was set up in 2016 as a charitable foundation to provide humanitarian aid, as well as to contribute to the underprivileged, poor, and needy. TH said that it has contributed RM7 million to the foundation.

3. The second report alleged that three senior officers - Ismee, Hazlina, and Rifina - misrepresented and withheld material information involving the sale of TH's 95% stake in PT TH Indo Plantations

According to The Edge, the 95% stake - which was held by TH subsidiaries TH Indopalms Sdn Bhd and TH Indo Industries Sdn Bhd - were disposed off to PT Borneo Pacific for USD910 milllion. The portal also noted that TH Indo Plantations owns a total of 83,000 hectares of palm oil estates in Indonesia.

4. Shortly after the reports were made public, Singaporean news portal The Straits Times revealed that TH was RM4 billion short of deposits in 2016. It was supposed to have RM64 billion in assets.

The Straits Times noted that the pilgrimage fund has nine million depositors, but has yet to present the audit of its 2017 accounts after its board and senior management were reshuffled following the 14th General Elections (GE14). 

It also suggested that the losses in deposits could have increased since then.

5. Citing an anonymous senior official in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, The Straits Times also reported that TH's former management had "faked last year's account" to justify its pre-GE14 dividend payout

Image via Utusan Online

The senior official told the Singaporean daily that TH had done so to "justify its dividend payout" of up to 6.25% in February 2018, just three months before GE14, amounting to RM2.7 billion in payouts

6. Meanwhile, the 2017 Auditor-General's (A-G) report has revealed that TH failed to record an asset impairment of RM227.81 million in its subsidiary and associate companies

"In the year ended Dec 31, 2017, LTH did not record an impairment totalling RM227.81 million against investment in three subsidiary companies and three associates, primarily the investment in the associate company, TH Heavy Engineering Bhd, which amounted to RM164.58 million," the report said, as quoted by The Edge.

The A-G report, which was revealed today, 3 December, added that TH's policy on reporting its impairment of assets was inconsistentFree Malaysia Today reported that the policy was changed every year. In fact, in the financial year ending 31 December 2017, it was modified twice.

7. After the police reports went public, former TH chairperson Abdul Azeez called the allegations an "attempt to embarrass" him and the pilgrim fund

According to Malaysiakini, the UMNO-Baling MP said TH's new management should have approached him for clarification

"This is mala fide and an attempt to embarrass me and Tabung Haji," he said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, 3 December. 

"Tabung Haji never called me to allow me to defend myself. All funds were channelled into Yayasan Tabung Haji (YTH). UMNO, the federal government and contributors put their faith in YTH," he added, as quoted by Malaysiakini. 

8. In light of the reports, TH group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Zukri Samat had assured depositors that their savings are safe

TH group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Zukri Samat.

Image via Bernama

Responding to queries on whether the police reports will impact the fund's operations, he explained, "It is business as usual for us. Our depositors should trust that TH will ensure their deposits are secure." 

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