KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd chief executive Datuk Abdul Karim Abdullah has today claimed the oil and gas company’s legal troubles with market regulators were caused by “hidden hands” that were keen to see its downfall.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insight, Abdul Karim was quoted as saying the alleged plot was to destroy Serba Dinamik as well as to remove him from the corporate scene.
“We believe there are hidden hands who triggered this entire controversy. We are entrepreneurs who believe in technology as a tool to guide, support and excel with our global holistic engineering solutions.
“We believe in participating in the nation building agenda and to support and implement the vendor development programme of the government.
“Along the way, there were parties who envied our success and worked out an ill-intended move to create messy issues.
“We do not have any ‘godfather’ or ‘strong political connections’ to shield us,” he said, while refusing to reveal the identity of the alleged perpetrators as investigations are still underway.
This comes after four senior officials, including Abdul Karim himself, from SDHB were fully acquitted of charges of submitting a false statement to Bursa Malaysia last year after the full settlement of the company’s RM16 million fine imposed by the Securities Commission (SC) were completed.
In explaining the acquittal which had drawn public criticism, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) said criminal proceedings against the troubled company ought not to be pursued due to the economic consequences of doing so.
Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun was quoted as saying the impact of the charges was disproportionate with the severity of the alleged offences committed.
Abdul Karim further noted the impact of the unwarranted attacks which had taken a huge toll on the company and himself, resulting in a free fall of the company’s shares and a winding up petition from its creditors.
“All allegations levelled against me and Serba Dinamik have the end goal to remove me from the corporate scene and portray an ultra-negative image of me.
“All allegations are untrue and as mentioned before, due to sub judice, I have been keeping quiet. Now, it’s over,” he said.
He also expressed frustration at the various published news articles on the allegations surrounding the company without proper facts being portrayed, which he said was out of his control when the case was before the court.
“As for debunking the allegations, I have worked extensively with our legal team in doing just that where it really mattered, in our representation to the AGC to have the charges compounded.
“I must point out that this was in fact successful, in that the AGC saw that the charges were very problematic, and that there was insufficient evidence to succeed with any prosecution.
“While it was frustrating to have various media articles published on the matter without the facts being properly portrayed, there was very little I could do about it in the media, and I very much doubt that some publishers would have printed what I had to say accurately,” he said.
Abdul Karim also said the matter could have been handled better by the various parties involved instead of dragging the oil and gas company to court, while shifting the blame to the company’s then auditor KPMG where the problem allegedly started with the way the auditor handled the issues.
“Instead of first working with the management to address the alleged issues, many of which were without any basis, they reported it to the Securities Commission without attempting to get a response beforehand.
“This was compounded by the SC’s subsequent hasty actions that included searching our premises and laying charges without investigations being completed.
“Once the charges were laid by the SC, we had to take action to prevent the matter from getting out of hand.
“We truly believe that the actions of KPMG, the SC and the subsequent auditor EY Consulting escalated matters unnecessarily, and our various legal actions were an attempt to settle everything so that it could be properly addressed,” he said.
With the legal troubles with the SC now resolved, Abdul Karim said his aim was now to get Serba Dinamik back on track again before imploring stakeholders to stick with the company.
“We are here to stay as a major player in the market. The recent events are only a minor setback and will not deter us from surging forward with the many projects we have planned and are in the pipeline.
“We will work hard to earn your trust and take this company to greater heights,” he said.
He also dismissed a suggestion that agreeing and accepting the compound meant admission to some level of guilt.
“Accepting the compound doesn’t mean we are admitting to being guilty.
“We also realised that continuing the legal route would take years and the adverse news would prevent the company from obtaining financial support or bidding for contracts.
This he said was because ongoing legal battles would also mean key employees would be restricted in their duties, not least having to give evidence in court.
“Paying the compound allows us to continue with business as usual, and quickly earn the revenue to repay our creditors and generate profitability to pay dividends to our shareholders,” he said.
Nonetheless, Abdul Karim hoped the authorities would investigate those allegedly behind the plot, adding that reports had been lodged with the relevant enforcement agencies.
Serba Dinamik and its four top executives were charged with submitting a false statement to Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad in relation to the revenue figure of RM6.014 billion contained in the company’s Quarterly Report on Consolidated Results for the Quarter and Year ended December 31, 2020.
The AGC previously withdrew the criminal charges against Serba Dinamik and its four executives, following legal representation made by the company, and subsequently directed the SC to compound the offences.
Serba Dinamik and the four executives had been slapped with a RM3 million compound fine each on April 13.
According to the SC, this is the maximum amount of compound permissible under Section 369(a)(B) of the CMSA for submission of false information in the company’s financial statement.
Hafiz was also given an additional RM1 million compound for falsifying the accounting records of the company’s subsidiary, an offence under section 368(1)(b)(i) of the CMSA.