BUTTERWORTH: Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) has sued five of its former board of directors, including former chairman Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, over alleged questionable land deals, resulting in almost RM20 million losses.
Perda chairman Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the suits were filed at the civil court here earlier this week.
Haniff, who was elected to the job in January, had vowed a major cleanup within the agency.
“We have conducted a probe since Jan 5, and our investigation revealed several wrongdoings by the previous administration.
“As such, we have decided to take legal actions against all those involved, including third parties, to ensure the welfare of the Perda community is well protected,” he told a press conference here today.
Elaborating, Haniff said investigations into 15 files/projects were carried out, of which, actions had been taken against four.
He added that the cases included a 9.36 acre plot of land in Tok Keramat, Nibong Tebal, a 5.8 acre plot of land in Sungai Baung, also in Nibong Tebal, a 45.4 acre plot of land in Simpang Tiga, Tasek Gelugor and a 30.3 acre plot of land in Pantai Teluk Batu, Sungai Batu, Teluk Kumbar.
“In the case of Tok Keramat and Sungai Baung, both sales and purchase agreements for Perda land to a third party were signed in June 2015 and May 2015 respectively, we found that the sales price far deviated from the market price at that time. Both land are estimated at RM17.7 millions and RM1.9 million respectively.
“We feel that the financial losses as well as that of two plots of Perda land could not be justified, except through legal actions.
“As such, we have file writ of summons for both cases in court here, one on Wednesday and the other on Thursday,” he said.
Haniff said Perda has initiated legal actions against the third party, being those who bought both land, for the return of the land as well as other forms of compensations.
He added that as for the land in Simpang Tiga, despite Perda, through its subsidiary, Perda Ventures Incorporated Sdn Bhd, having bought the plot in April 2015, the land has yet to be transferred under the agency’s name.
“We have terminated the services of the lawyer handling the matter and appointed a new one.
“We will do all possible to get the land registered under Perda.
“Actions will be taken against all involved including the previous lawyer.” he said.
In the case of Pantai Teluk Bayu, Haniff said two agreements for project development were signed in September 2007 and July 2002 but nothing has been forthcoming.
He added that they sought to terminate both agreements, and decide on appropriate projects to be carried out.
As for the other 11 files, Haniff said they needed between three and six months to investigate as some of the project documents dated as far back as six years.
Haniff said they have also decided to suspend Perda Ventures Incorporated’ decision-making process, adding that any decision will be made by the main body, Perda.
Meanwhile, asked if Shabudin’s decision to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) would affect the civil suits, he stressed that Perda was not a political entity and therefore would not be influenced by political changes.
“We will not stop taken actions regardless of one’s political background,” he added.