Sime Darby: No longer a corporate icon

In Malaysia on 26/07/2012 at 6:11 am

(Or “Sime Darby and the decline in corporate morality in M’sia”)

When I joined the financial services here in 1986 in fund mgt, Sime Darby had the reputation as a well run company, that didn’t play the games other M’sian corporates did. And senior mgt had a reputation of doing the right thing by the company: no funny biz.

Well in the last one week

— A corporate lawyer and independent non-executive director of Sime Darby, Datuk E.Sreesanthan pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to seven counts of insider trading under the Securities Industry Act and Capital Markets and Services Act, six years ago.

The charges involved insider trading amounting to 625,000 shares in Sime Darby Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd, UEM World Bhd and VADS Bhd.

Sreesanthan, 52, allegedly used the information at his disposal on the acquisition, privatisation and corporate restructuring exercises of the said companies between 2006 and 2008, to acquire the shares.

He was charged on three counts of acquiring 75,000 shares of Sime Darb, ahead of the special purpose vehicle Synergy Drive’s acquisition of nine companies within its group, including Sime Engineering Services, Golden Hope Plantations and Kumpulan Guthrie.

— And former Sime Darby president and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubair Murshid pleaded not guilty at a Sessions Court to

  —- Two counts of committing criminal breach of trust over land in Sarawak, incurring losses of over RM100mil.

The charges were in relation to the acquisition of native customary rights (NCR) land in Sarikei, Kapit and Julau under the Sarawak Upstream Expansion Plan.

  —- A second charge of failing to take or instruct legal action between Nov 17, 2008 and Dec 4, 2009 to rectify the awarding of NCR land in Kapit and Julau to trading company Nature Ambience Sdn Bhd, resulting in Sime Darby incurring losses of RM16.8mil by having to acquire it.

  —-  Two alternative charges under Section 418 of the Penal Code.

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