Two audit reports point to 'preferential treatment' for a cafeteria service company in AIMST University linked to several MIC personalities, claims PKR.
PETALING JAYA: PKR today revealed more alleged hanky-panky in the running of AIMST University, citing two audit reports it claimed was evidence of financial mismanagement involving a company running the university’s cafeteria.
The party’s national strategy and policy bureau secretary S Gobi Krishnan alleged that the auditor wrote two reports – one dated May 18, 2009 and another Jan 18, 2010 – which indicated various inconsistencies, including alleged false claims and “preferential treatment” accorded to Jaya Cafe Holdings Sdn Bhd.
He has not named the auditor, who is apparently a chartered accountant.
Previously, Gobi had alleged that the Jaya Cafe contract was awarded under suspicious circumstances and the cafe had allegedly occupied more space than what it was allocated.
Besides, he had also alleged that the cafe operators had made overclaims on cafeteria services.
Listing down these inconsistencies today, Gobi claimed Jaya Cafe was allowed such privilege because of the influence of several MIC-linked figures behind the company.
He alleged that two directors of the company were “nominees” for MIC Youth chief T Mohan and former CEO of Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) P Chitrakala Vasu.
Gobi had in a previous press conference named MIC Youth treasurer J Dhinagaran as one of the owners of Jaya Cafe.
“These ‘directors’ were put there just to earn money, and it is clear why privileges and preferential treatment were given to Jaya Cafe. It is to benefit immorally from such a profitable contract,” he said today.
Gobi said that based on one of the audit reports, Jaya Cafe allegedly submitted a false claim of RM90,000 on the food served during AIMST Universtity new campus launch on Aug 17, 2008.
“During the launch, food was actually supplied by another company, Eden Catering, through the event management company, Scoop Events Sdn Bhd,” he said.
Gobi showed reporters excerpts of the purported audit report, which said: “Since Jaya Cafe makes monthly claim for catering food and beverages to students, this bill on 27/08 dated 11/8/08, purportedly for food catered for AIMST official launching, appears to be spurious.”
Gobi said that according to the invoice sent in by Scoop Events, the actual amount for the food served on the day was RM135,000 for 3,000 guests for RM45 per person.
“Jaya Cafe claimed it served 2,000 [guests] on the same day, for RM90,000. The auditor even quoted one Mr David from its accounts department as saying that the total number of 5,000 guests for that day was ‘preposterous’.”
David had apparently also told the auditor that all food and beverages were provided by Scoop Events, as Jaya Cafe only provides for students.
Gobi said that the auditor also noted that Jaya Cafe could have “plucked the figure of RM45 per person based on the quotation by Scoop Events”.
He also questioned why there was a need for MIED Capital to subsidise for food, which came up to almost RM1.97million for 2007 to 2009.
He said this subsidy, which was even questioned by the then vice-chancellor of AIMST Unviersity , Prof Dr Charles Smales, would go to the coffers of Jaya Cafe.
Losses in rental
Gobi also alleged that Jaya Cafe was unfairly utilising accommodation, kitchen equipment and cleaning services of AIMST University.
“Cleaning services in the areas being utilised by Jaya Cafe Holdings were supposed to be undertaken by Jaya Cafe, but in reality, they were being done by Sunway Cleaners.
“Sunway Cleaners was paid by MIED Capital to the tune of RM192,000 for 2008 and 2009,” he alleged.
He said that MIED Capital paid RM826,400 for the construction of commercial kitchen equipment for AIMST University, but it is now being utilised by Jaya Cafe for free.
The auditor’s report noted that “it is only rational that MIED Capital should claim at least RM80,000 per year as rental [for the kitchen equipment]”.
Gobi said that Jaya Cafe staff were even occupying a student apartment, for free, resulting in losses in rental of RM111,825 for AIMST Universtiy and MIED Capital for 2007, 2008, and 2009.
The auditor even noted that it was “ironic” that the apartment was named “F4C”, which sounded like “FOC” (free of charge).
“By right, the cafe staff are not allowed to stay, but were given permission. The problem is they were not paying rent at all,” he said.
He showed a copy of an internal e-mail from AIMST Universtity head of department Ranjit Singh to one Krishnan Subramanian confirming that the apartment has been occupied by “Jaya Catering staff” since January 2007.
Gobi said that he would allow MIC a few days to reply, failing which, he would be lodging reports with the authorities.
“If no answers are forthcoming, PKR will proceed to file report with the police and with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission [MACC] against all those involved including the staff of AIMST University.”
‘Why drag me in?’
Meanwhile, Mohan admitted to FMT that he is related to one of the directors Gobi named for Jaya Cafe.
“Yes, I never denied that she is my relative. But it does not mean that I am involved,” he said, adding that it was not wrong for his relative to be involved in business.
“Why drag me in? I think there is something wrong with this person [Gobi]…”
However, Mohan said that he would support Gobi if there was any foul play or misuse of funds.
“Gobi should make a report in the interest of the community and I’ll help him with that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chitrakala told FMT that she was “totally not involved in this so I can’t comment”.
AIMST was set up in October 2001 by MIC’s education arm, MIED.