Leak by Public Bank Berhad triggered immense public outrage, resulting in massive losses for NFCorp

In his cross examination yesterday, National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that had Public Bank Berhad come forward to say no loans had been taken for the purchase of the eight commercial lots at KL Eco City in Bangsar, it would have put an immediate stop to the wild claims by the PKR’s then strategic director Rafizi Ramli.

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However, this had not been the case, said Salleh, when cross examined by Yoong Sin Min, counsel for Public Bank Berhad.

Rafizi, now Pandan MP and secretary-general of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), had alluded that a RM71 million government loan deposit placed at the bank was at peril as it was alleged that loans were taken leveraging on the deposit.

Rafizi made these claims using customer banking information of Salleh, National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd and its group of companies which he wielded and distributed to a roomful of journalists at a news conference staged on 7 March 2012 at the PKR headquarters to lend credence to his allegations.

“Rafizi had also extracted information from these documents to announce that I had only RM421 in my bank account,” Salleh said.

Salleh added that as a result of the leak and exposure of his confidential banking information, there was immense backlash from the general public to cause an unwarranted scare.

“The leak and exposure of my confidential banking information was the final straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.

“The immense public outrage and backlash resulted in all of our assets being seized by the authorities.

“Consequently, sales income for all of my companies fell sharply resulting in massive losses and collapse.”

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had earlier yesterday allowed the plaintiffs’ amended statement of claims with costs. Judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara presided.

Datuk Salleh was represented by his counsels Datuk M David Morais, Al Firdaus Shahrul Naing, Sara Ann Chay Sue May and Syed Ismat Syed Muhamad.

On 22 May 2012, Salleh, NFCorp, National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, and Real Food Company Sdn Bhd filed the suit against the bank for RM60 million in general damages, RM250 million in exemplary damages and another RM250 million in aggravated damages.

The plaintiffs have stated that their business, reputation and credibility had suffered irreparable loss and damage as a result of the bank’s security breach of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA).

Salleh is also suing Rafizi Ramli and Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd, publishers of MalaysiaKini in a separate suit that is currently ongoing.