Effendi: No report lodged against Ling by ministers

KUALA LUMPUR: No police report has ever been lodged by Cabinet ministers against Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over the 404.5ha Pulau Indah land deal in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project, a former minister told the High Court.

In taking the stand yesterday, former Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi said as far as he was aware, no police report had ever been lodged against Dr Ling.

During cross-examination by Dr Ling’s counsel Wong Kian Kheong, Effendi said that neither was he aware of any complaint against the former Transport Minister for “chea­ting the Cabinet”.

Wong: My client is charged with cheating the Cabinet. Did you lodge a police report against him for cheating the Cabinet?

Effendi: No.

Wong: Did you tell the police my client cheated over the PKFZ project?

Effendi: No.

Effendi also told the court that he was only interviewed by the police about a month ago (after the trial had begun).

Asked by Wong, he also agreed that the financial matters (including figures, expenditure and Budget) were all under the purview of the Finance Ministry and that if a project was not financially viable, it was up to that ministry to object to it.

When questioned by DPP Manoj Kurup on whether he understood the meaning of Discounted Cash Flow at a target rate of 8.25% as stated in the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) valuation report, Effendi said that it was a way of finding today’s value (Net Present Value) of amounts to be paid in the future.

Asked about the 6% coupon rate, he said that as the project would have been funded by the issuance of bonds, the 6% is the returns for the investors of the bonds meaning that it would have to be paid to the bondholders.

JPPH deputy director-general Datuk Mani Usilappan had previously testified that a RM25 psf price consideration (for the land) could be used for the purpose of Bond issuance when read together with the 10-year repayment period with a yearly 6% interest and a 5% deposit.

Net present value of the land had been fixed at RM21 psf.

As long as any deferred payment scheme reflected the RM21 psf price when discounted back at a rate of 8.25%, it captured the essence of the JPPH valuation report.

Dr Ling has claimed trial to an amended principal charge of deceiving the Government by not exposing to the Cabinet an additional interest rate of 7.5% annually in the land purchase for the PKFZ project.

He faces two optional charges of cheating the Government by not revealing to the Cabinet facts pertaining to the interest rate, and deceiving it into believing that facts on the land purchased at RM25 psf and 7.5% interest were certified and agreed to by JPPH when he knew there was no such consent.

Dr Ling is said to have committed the offences at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

The hearing before Justice Ahmadi Asnawi continues on Nov 10.

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