Three acquitted of abetting, offer of shares for unlisted company

KUALA LUMPUR: Three individuals, including a Datuk, were acquitted and discharged from the charge of abetting to issue and to offer nearly seven million units of shares in a construction company without registering its prospectus with the Securities Commission (SC).

Datuk Abdul Malek Yusof, Noor Aida Abdullah, and Raja Samsul Bahri Raja Muhammad were initially charged on June 1,2016 for abetting to issue and offer 6,951,921 units of shares of Astana Resources Bhd, formerly known as JPG Holdings Bhd.

Sessions Court Judge Hasbullah Adam ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Judge Hasbullah, in reading his judgment, said that that there was doubt in the need for JPG Holdings, as an unlisted company, to register is prospectus with SC before it offered and issued shares to the public.

He also ordered the bail money and passports for all three to be returned to them.

Abdul Malek, 45, and Noor Aida, 46, were former directors of JPG Holdings while Raja Samsul, 50, was the company's former chief executive officer.

Abdul Malek was accused of issuing 4,887,650 units of shares for the company without registering a prospectus with SC required under Section 232 of the the Capital Market and Services Act (CMSA) 2007, between April 30, 2010 and Dec 28, 2011, at the company's premises at Jalan USJ 21/3, Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Meanwhile, Noor Aida and Raja Samsul were accused of abetting the company in offering 6,951,921 units of its shares, between April 30, 2010 and Nov 19, 2012 at the company's premises at Jalan USJ 21/3, Subang Jaya, Selangor.

All three were charged under Section 370(c) of the CMSA 2007, read together with Section 232(1) of the same act and can be punished under Section 232(7) of the act.

SC prosecuting officer Zul’Aida Zulkifli stood for prosecution, while lawyer Datuk Chong Loong Men represented all three accused.

When met outside the court, Chong said that the decision reached by the court was "very important", as it is the only case in the country to have interpreted Section 232 of the CMSA 2007.

"The most important point that the court appeared to have ruled is that any company that is not subject to listing in Bursa Malaysia is not required to register its prospectus with the SC in order to issue and offer shares," he said.

He added that is now incumbent to SC and legislature to amend the law and the relevant guidelines to avoid any more confusion of the sort.

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