The Star Online, Febuary 3, 2005
BY WONG SAI WAN AND LOURDES CHARLES
PETALING JAYA: The Finance Ministry has frozen the accounts of a technology company located in Cyberjaya after two police reports were lodged against the chief executive officer.
Sources said the move by the ministry was to protect RM60mil that was still in the accounts and the amount was part of the Government soft loan released to the company.
The Star reported yesterday that two police reports had been lodged – one by the company's former chief financial officer and the other by the ministry's Secretary for Loan Administration and Financial Policy.
The two reports are related to the transfer of RM50mil from the Cyberjaya company's accounts, allegedly done by the CEO, without the approval of the board of directors, to his own company in New York.
Sources said the former employee, a US citizen, approached the ministry last week after the CEO, also an American but of Arab descent, sacked her.
However, she claimed that she was sacked when she questioned the transactions.
The 55-year-old CEO is reported to be one of the world’s leading scientists and technologists and he is also the chairman and president of the company which has been granted Multimedia Super Corridor status.
The man, who claims to own 600 patents worldwide, was invited to set up the R&D company in Malaysia during a visit to the US by the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2002.
The money is said to be part of a grant of RM437mil awarded to the firm by the Government for research and development in June. As at December, the Finance Ministry had released RM228mil.
The ministry, in a statement late yesterday evening, identified the company as InventQjaya.
The statement stated that the ministry lodged the police report “with the main objective of freezing InventQjaya's bank account.”
The ministry described the company as a “collaborative effort between the Government and Reveo Inc (a US Company) to undertake research and development, develop and commercialise frontier technology-based patents in Malaysia.”
“InventQjaya is a 100% subsidiary of Reveo Inc. The implementation of this project is funded by a government loan.
“This loan is governed by a loan agreement dated June 2003 with certain terms and conditions relating to the utilisation of the funds and is secured by a debenture,” the statement added.
Sources said the Government could take over the assets and patents of InventQjaya if the loan was defaulted in any way and a breach of the utilisation clause could be considered to be such a breach.
Among products to be developed by IQJ are virtual curtains, magnesium-based fuel cells, batteries, water desalination, 3-D stereoscopic imaging, glare-blocking technologies and the IQHarvest that generates solar power, collects rainwater and provide shade for crops and LuxVu switchable windows to control light and conserve energy.
The company had only two weeks ago obtained permission from the Government to establish a special desalination plant at Pulau Perhentian as a pilot project to test its invention which did not produce as much brine compared to present water treatment facilities.
InventQjaya issued a statement yesterday stating that The Star report “points directly at InventQjaya which was established in Cyberjaya in October 2003 at the express invitation of the Malaysian Government to accelerate Malaysia’s thrust towards first-world status”.
In the brief statement with the heading “Business as usual at InventQjaya”, it added: “In view of the investigations into the allegations, as reported in The Star, the board of InventQjaya has decided not to issue any statement.”
It was also learnt that the board held a meeting yesterday to discuss the latest developments, including the police report.
Sources said police have questioned and recorded statements from several people in connection with the case.
Commercial crimes department director Commissioner Datuk Hairuddin Mohamed said the probe started soon after a senior official of the ministry lodged a police report.
“I can only confirm we have started investigations,” he said.
It is learnt that a special task force comprising experts from various departments including Bank Negara, the Attorney-General’s chambers, police and Finance Ministry have been formed to investigate the allegations.
Sources said that several documents pertaining to the transactions of the company have been seized.