KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has been paying out dividends illegally since 2014 while its financial position remained in the red, the minister in the Prime Minister Department’s in charge of Islamic religious affairs revealed today.
Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa said PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted an audit on TH’s 2017 financial account and discovered the Muslim pilgirms savings fund’s true financial position included assets totalling RM70.3 billion while its liabilities stood at RM74.4 billion.
“That is a deficit of RM4.1 billion as of December 30, 2017 and TH has been paying out dividends since 2014 by contravening the Tabung Haji Act 1995.
“The hole is getting bigger. This cannot be sustainable,” he told reporters at Parliament.
He added that that in order for dividends, or hibah as they are called in Islamic financial terms, to be paid, two prerequisites under the Act that must be fulfilled.
“First, TH assets must be more than its liabilities and second, there must be distributable profits,” Mujahid said.
He gave an assurance that the federal government’s foremost priority is to safeguard the depositors’ money.
In light of the latest findings, Mujahid said a special purpose vehicle has been set up to conduct a comprehensive turnaround to restore TH’s balance sheet and maximise recovery efforts of underperforming assets.
“TH, through the Prime Minister’s Office, has briefed the Cabinet, with the Cabinet fully endorsing the measures to be undertaken to win back the confidence of the depositors. That is precisely what the new team has done.
“Therefore, to ensure long-term sustainability and resilience, TH will be placed under the supervision of Bank Negara administratively from January 1 next year,” he said.
Mujahid, who is also Parit Buntar MP, assured depositors that dividends for 2018 will be paid out.
However, he said the amount will depend on the present restructuring efforts undertaken by new TH CEO Datuk Seri Zukri Samat and the fulfilment of the two prerequisites.
“Our accounts for this year have not been closed yet so the payment amount will be announced at a later date.
“However, I am confident that depositors will be able to receive their dividends following the recovery efforts made subject to the fulfilment of the two prerequisites even though it might not be much,” Mujahid added.
There are at least 9.2 million TH depositors nationwide.
On November 30, TH lodged two police reports against its former chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, former chief executive officer, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah as well as four other senior management personnel alleging misconduct on their part pertaining to TH’s financial affairs.
The former senior staff were Datuk Adi Azuan (Chief Operating Officer) and Datuk Rozaida Omar (Chief Financial Officer), Hazlina Mohd Khalid (Legal Adviser) and Rifina Md Ariff (Senior General Manager, Corporate Services and Real Estate).
On December 3, former chairman Abdul Azeez claimed the two police reports that were lodged against him over the alleged misuse of a charity fund’s money totalling over RM22.0 million for politically-linked activities were made with bad intentions.