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“There was no hanky panky involved” Selangor-Talam – KPMG

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SHAH ALAM – KPMG Transaction & Restructuring Sdn Bhd (KPMG) – the audit firm tasked to review the Selangor-Talam debt recovery exercise – had declared the exercise to be “a sound business decision and done accordingly”.

In announcing the findings of the audit, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said KPMG – appointed in July – had found the exercise to be “above board” and “there was no hanky panky involved”.

The audit was prompted by allegations that the Selangor government lost RM1 billion through the exercise.

“From the review, KPMG is of the view that the Selangor government made a sound commercial decision under the circumstances at that point in time in relation to the settlement arrangement.

“The settlement process is still ongoing and based on currently available information, the gross consideration is sufficient for Mentri Besar Selangor Incorporated (MBI), being the party tasked with recovering the debts on behalf of the Selangor government and its subsidiaries, to recover the Talam debts, with no debt waiver by MBI,” he told a press conference after the state exco meeting today. Also present was KPMG Advisory Unit executive director Chan Siew Mei.

A detailed audit report will be tabled at the next state assembly sitting scheduled this November and would be followed by a white paper.

Abdul Khalid said four spokesmen had been appointed to speak on the issue to the media and the public. They are Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, Selayang MP William Leong and political secretary to the Mentri Besar, Faekah Husin.

Abdul Khalid also said the state is preparing a brochure with a list of frequently asked questions on the debt recovery exercise – vetted by KPMG – to confirm the accuracy of the facts and details to assist the media and the public in understanding the issue.

Meanwhile, Chan said the review was conducted over a period of one month but was not specifically to check into allegations by Barisan Nasional that the deal was not “done in a proper way”.

“Our scope of work was not to see if allegations (against the state) were true or not. It was done strictly to check on transactions and supporting documents,” she added.

Asked whether they found instances where the value of land assets involved were lower than the debt was off-set, she said: “The short answer is yes.”

“But the details are answered in the (state prepared and KPMG-vetted) frequently asked questions,” she added.

To this, Abdul Khalid pointed out that “at no time was the state shortchanged as provisions were put in place to ensure that Talam would make up the difference if the land does not match the value of the debt.” – The Sun Daily