Gatco case: Company owner remanded for 5 days

macc-arrest-jailPUTRAJAYA: The owner of a company was remanded for five days from yesterday to assist in the investigation into the sale and purchase of land in Kampung Serampang Indah, Jempol, Negeri Sembilan, which was formerly known as Gatco Estate.

Magistrate Azizah Ahmad issued the remand order after allowing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) application.

The 54-year-old man, who is a former bank officer, was detained at 6.30pm yesterday at the MACC office here after his statement was taken to facilitate the investigation under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act 2009.

The case arose from dissatisfaction among Gatco settlers about the estate being sold to Thamarai Holdings Sdn Bhd in 2007 for RM16 million when the value of the property, they claimed, was around RM500 million.

The original owner of the 2,000-hectare land was Syarikat Gula Negeri Sembilan. When the company wound up, the sugarcane plantation was taken over by the Negeri Sembilan Development Corporation (PKNNS) for a 99-year lease.

In 1977, PKNNS leased it out to Great Allonioners Trading Corporation Bhd (Gatco), which turned it into a land scheme and brought in participants who were given a house lot and 10 acres to plant rubber with a payment of between RM4,000 and RM7,000 each.

But Gatco faced financial difficulties, forcing it to abandon its rubber plantation project. The land was seized and offered for public auction in 2004, and bought by Thamarai Holdings in 2007.