2 high-ranking Malaysian officers investigated for misuse of funds

Sarchu (above) was accused of CBT through 27 Banker's Acceptance while Tan was alleged to have used 20 BAs.

KUALA LUMPUR - In the latest high-profile case that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has pursued, two former high-ranking officers of a Felda subsidiary company pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to committing criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM30mil.

Datuk Sarchu Sawal, 64, ex-chief executive officer of KPF Quality Foods Sdn Bhd, was charged with CBT involving RM16,963,825 of the company's funds meant for the National Food Supply Project.

Former KPF quality director Datuk Tan Han Kook, 59, was charged with CBT involving RM13,164,955 of the same funds.

Sarchu was accused of CBT through 27 Banker's Acceptance (BA) while Tan was alleged to have used 20 BAs.

BA is a bill of exchange drawn on and accepted by a bank. It is an order to pay a specified sum on a specified date to a named person or to the bearer of the draft.

Both offences were allegedly committed at Anjung Felda in Jalan Maktab between August 2011 and February 2012.

Koperasi Permodalan Felda owns 60 per cent of KPF Quality Foods, set up by Silver Bird Group and several other parties in June 2011.

The company is involved in marketing and packaging of agricultural products.

KPF Quality foods operates as agent, contractor, consultant, halal food processor and marketer and distributor of agricultural and farming products, produce and related items.

DPP Azlin Sabtu applied for bail to be set at RM2mil each in two sureties, as well as for both the acc­used to surrender their passports.

Azlin asked Sessions judge Rosbiahanin Arifin to take into consideration that the offences were serious, given the amount invol­ved.

The accused's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, in appealing for a lower bail, said Sarchu was now a pensioner and had a clean record.

He said Tan, a former group managing director of Silver Bird Group Bhd, was now a bankrupt and unemployed.

The lawyer told the court that Tan had also been charged with 134 cheating cases in another Sessions Court last December, involving RM67mil and was released on a bail of RM800,000.

Rosbiahanin set bail at RM2mil for Sarchu and RM1mil for Tan in two sureties and fixed Sept 13 for mention.

The judge earlier turned down Harvin­derjit Singh's application for the case to be heard in the afternoon, on the grounds that lead counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran was on his way to the court to appear for the accused.

Under the Penal Code, those convicted for CBT can be jailed up to 20 years, whipped or fined.