KUALA LUMPUR: Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (MARA) subsidiary MARA Inc has relinquished one of its four properties in Australia in a bid to clear bank borrowings there.
MARA chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that MARA Inc sold off its 12-storey office building in 51st Queen Street, Melbourne last year at a profit.
“We bought the building for A$21mil (RM59.4mil) two years ago and sold it by way of open tender last year for A$23.4mil (RM76.75mil).
“The money from the sale of the building was used to settle the short and mid term loans taken by MARA Inc for the three other buildings,” he told reporters at a press conference at MARA headquarters on Tuesday.
He said the MARA Inc sale was part of the company’s rationalisation plan to liquidate its assets in Australia at a profit so as not to financially burden MARA.
He added that the profit was meant to clear MARA Inc’s loans with two Australian banks.
“The rationalisation planned was brought to MARA’s council and board before getting approval from the Finance Ministry and the Rural and Regional Development Ministry,” he said.
Annuar said MARA Inc would hold on to its three other properties in Australia, which have a combined value of almost RM300mil.
He said the buildings in Melbourne are being rented out to Melbourne University’s staff and students as well as other tenants.
On the issue involving the controversial purchase of Dudley International House in 2013, which was overpaid by RM13.8mil, Annuar said the deal had nothing to do with MARA Inc.
“It has nothing to do with MARA Inc. It is a civil court case between the building’s contractor and sub-contractor which is still pending in Australia,” he said.
Annuar, who is also Umno information chief, stressed that he had requested the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the case thoroughly and not to spare anyone if there was wrongdoing.
“We must give a clear signal that we are not here to do monkey business but to uphold public trust with a high level of integrity,” he said.
Two former senior officers of MARA Inc, both with “Datuk” titles, were remanded by the MACC last March for investigations into the Dudley International House purchase. The probe is still ongoing.
On PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s claims that MARA Inc had overpaid millions in the deals for its Australian assets, Annuar brushed aside the allegations as assumptions made with ill intentions.