Officers did not steal money, says Risda

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 14 Jan 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: Risda has clarified that the RM33.2mil loans given to its two subsidiaries and the National Smallholders Co-operative were utilised for the benefit of smallholders and not misappropriated into the pockets of its officers. 

Its chairman Datuk Abdul Raman Suliman said Risda did not find evidence to show that the money was misappropriated although the withdrawal was not according to procedure. 

Asked why Risda was convinced that the money was properly spent, although the withdrawal of the loans did not follow procedure, Abdul Raman said: “All expenses were recorded and receipts issued. Furthermore, as long as the investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) does not prove any misappropriation, it does not mean that there is malpractice in Risda.” 

The ACA must investigate the case immediately to clear Risda's name, he told a press conference here yesterday. 

Abdul Raman said a RM20mil loan was given to its subsidiary, Risda Smallholders Plantation Sdn Bhd (RSPSB), to manage rubber replanting projects. 

He said RM11mil was also loaned to RSPSB for livestock breeding and fish rearing projects while RM2mil was given to another subsidiary, Risda Wood Sdn Bhd, which ventured into rubber wood furniture. 

Abdul Raman said RM200,000 was loaned to the co-operative which produced rice noodles and mineral water. 

“Our investigation revealed that all the loans were given out without referring to Risda's legal advisor. 

“However, all these projects are for the benefit of smallholders although the loans were given without following procedures. So far, there is no indication of misappropriation in spending the money,” he said. 

A sum of RM20mil was withdrawn from the Risda Consolidated Fund as a loan to RSPSB in November 2002 without obtaining approval from the Rural Development and Finance Ministers.  

Both ministers only gave their approval seven months later. 

Abdul Raman said the Risda board of directors had consented to the loan on condition that approval was obtained from both ministers but the agency gave them out before approval was obtained from the two ministers. – Bernama  

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