“The move by Isa to suspend Zakaria made very little sense – if any at all – and is seen to be an attempt by the group chairman to execute protectionist measures that may ride in his favour”
THE THIRD FORCE
In a move that rudely jolted the corporate world earlier today, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad undertook to relieve both Dato’ Zakaria Arshad and Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha of their duties in the company and all its attendant concerns.
Their suspensions, which took immediate effect, were pending a ‘discovery’ into transactional ‘irregularities’ involving a subsidiary of the world’s largest crude palm oil producer, Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd.
According to reports, Isa had accused Zakaria of breaching corporate governance practices by allowing a long-time customer of Delima, Safitex, to purchase palm oil products from the subsidiary company without a letter of credit.
For the record, a letter of credit is a letter of safeguard – a written undertaking by a bank – guaranteeing a seller that a buyer would remit payments on time and in an amount agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
However, it is customary for a company to grant special terms and leeway to customers with good credit ratings, particularly those with long-standing histories with the company.
Which is why, the move by Isa to suspend Zakaria made very little sense – if any at all – and is seen to be an attempt by the group chairman to execute protectionist measures that may ride in his favor.
The question is, what is Isa trying to hide?
In an editorial featured by Malaysia Today (READ HERE), Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) revealed that the decision to relieve Zakaria was taken in a highly irregular board meeting that barred Zakaria from attending.
According to the blogger, Isa was himself present at a signing ceremony held on the 17th of October 2015 that saw Safitex being granted credit facilities by Delima for the purchase of palm oil products.
“Safitex has been doing business with Felda for the last 20 years and the company is well-known to Felda.
“The terms that has been set by Felda is that Safitex pays 10% up-front on all orders and the balance after shipment.
“In fact, Isa is very close to the Afghan owner of that company and when Isa visits Dubai he is well looked after and entertained by the Safitex people,” RPK said.
The blogger added that the Afghan company’s owner was stranded in Afghanistan and as such, wasn’t able to clear payments for a September 2016 shipment. He went on to state that Zakaria was constantly pressured to make decisions in favour of Isa’s cronies.
“Isa is always asking Zakaria to award jobs and contracts to his cronies even when these people are not qualified or competent.
“If the project fails then Zakaria would have to face the music and may even be cited for corruption.
“Hence Zakaria will not do it unless Isa is prepared to put it in writing,” RPK said.
A report by Reuters revealed that Zakaria had previously been asked by Isa to resign but refused to do so, saying the payment process he was accused of administering was approved an implemented by the group’s previous CEO.
Zakaria was the group’s president and CEO, while Ahmad Tifli was the group’s chief financial officer.