Thursday, January 23, 2014

Witness: Bekir has up to RM1bil in oil palm estates

5:50PM Jan 22, 2014
Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, the son of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, holds between RM636 million to RM1.055 billion in palm oil plantations in Sarawak.

This was disclosed by accountant Andrew Heng, who was the second witness brought by his former wife Shahnaz A Majid.

Heng told the Syariah High Court that there are four out of 49 companies in which Mahmud (left) holds a stake that involve oil palm plantations.

He said that the search of the land titles was done through a law firm in Sarawak.

In total, the companies of the Sarawak CM’s son are said to own over 24,000ha in Sarawak where palm oil is planted.

These companies, according to Heng are Bella Magic Sdn Bhd (3,960ha), Essential Straits Sdn Bhd (5,000ha), Log Oak Promotions Sdn Bhd (3,900ha) and Titanium Management Sdn Bhd (11,728ha).

"Based on his stake in shareholding, the assets he owns in the oil palm estates alone are said to be estimated between RM636 million to RM1.055 billion," said Heng.

The witness was replying to questions from Shahnaz's counsel, Rafie Mohd Shafie and Akbardin Abdul Kader during examination in chief.

Not certified

Although the land search was done through a law firm, the documents were not marked as court exhibits and were marked only as identification, as they were not certified true copies.

Lawyers representing Mahmud's former wife Shahnaz A Majid (right) promised they will get the copies certified.

Heng stressed this value only comes from the four companies alone. However, the report he tabled in court states his firm were not able to identify any current liabilities due to the companies not filing their audited financial statements or the audited accounts were not up to date.

The status of three of the companies namely Bella Magic, Essential Straits, and Log Oak are not known as they have not filed audited accounts.

How value is derived

Heng told the court that Mahmud has a 47.5 per cent stake in Bella Magic, another 47.5 per cent stake each in Essential Straits and Log Oak Promotions while and a 59.58 per cent stake in Titanium Management.

On explaining how his firm arrived the amount of between RM636 million to RM1.055 billion, the chartered accountant said that this is based on the valuation of the land the company observed from the sale of oil palm estates in Sarawak.

The lowest value is RM48,597 per ha and the highest amount is RM80,580 per ha and the prices were derived from 2009 and 2012. The two figures of RM636 million to RM1,055 billion are derived by multiplying his respective stake in the four companies to the price per ha.

The chartered accountant also told the court that besides the oil palm estates, Mahmud has stakes in 20 companies including Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd which is a public listed company and also Sarawak Capital Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Cable Bhd.

Heng said Mahmud's stake in the 20 companies through his shares is worth RM219 million.

After proceedings, Mahmud denied the four companies are planting palm oil trees and that they own the said land.

“There's no palm oil,” he said and when asked further whether the companies own the land, he replied: “No”.

Mahmud was represented by lawyers Zainur Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Din.

The trial resumes on Feb 5 and 10 with Heng continuing his testimony before Judge Mohamad Abdul Wahab.
~ Malaysiakini

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