Tabung Haji chief: We had to be sure before exposing financial misconduct

Zukri said the board was seeking legal advice after he was asked if it will also take legal action over the alleged irregularities. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Zukri said the board was seeking legal advice after he was asked if it will also take legal action over the alleged irregularities. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Lembaga Tabung Haji only now reported the alleged financial misconducts tracing back to 2014 as the new management needed time to verify their existence, said Datuk Seri Zukri Samat

The LTH chief executive and managing director was explaining why police were only informed last month about the discrepancies going back years including the unlawful payment of dividends and alleged misuses of charity funds totalling RM22 million.

“We had to be certain by investigating the matter properly and we need professionals to verify the numbers.

"We do not want to jump to conclusions and we answer this part with the facts that we presented in the police reports,” he said during a press conference on the pilgrim fund’s rehabilitation and restructuring plan at agency’s headquarters here.

He also said the board was seeking legal advice after he was asked if it will also take legal action over the alleged irregularities.

Previously, the board said the police reports were lodged following internal investigations into previous transactions, which were launched by the new management in July 2018.

On November 30, TH lodged two police reports against former chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, former executives Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah as well as four other senior management personnel over alleged misconduct linked to LTH’s finances

The former officials 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).

Minister in the Prime Minister Department’s in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa revealed yesterday that LTH has been paying out dividends illegally since 2014 as it was in deficit.

He said PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted an audit on LTH’s 2017 accounts and discovered the pilgrims savings fund’s true financial standing was RM70.3 billion in assets against RM74.4 billion liabilities, or a deficit of RM4.1 billion.

The Tabung Haji Act 1995 prohibits the payment of dividends, or hibah as they are called in Islamic financial terms, when in deficit or when there are no distributable profits.

Former chairman Abdul Azeez previously claimed malice in the two police reports that were lodged against him over the alleged misuse of a charity fund’s money totalling over RM22 million for politically-linked activities.