Scandal-sniffer Rafizi digs deeper into Sapura’s Shahril remuneration, incentive package

UNDETERRED by a defamation suit by former Sapura Energy Bhd CEO and managing director Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin, newly-minted Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli has filed a third-party discovery application to seek Shahril’s remuneration and incentive package as paid by Sapura Energy.

This is one of the two applications filed by Rafizi at the Kuala Lumpur Civil Sessions Court with the other being an application to amend his defence statement.

The latest development was revealed by Rafizi’s lawyer Navpreet Singh to following case management before Sessions Court judge Lailatul Zuraida Harron @ Haron yesterday (Dec 8).

“Our firm filed the discovery application on Nov 24 where Rafizi is seeking discovery of certain documents in respect of TS Shahril’s remuneration and incentive package as paid by Sapura Energy during his tenure as CEO,” he told the business portal.

The second application, according to Navpreet is to amend Rafizi’s defence to that of the defence of justification on the second article he had written.

Rafizi filed his defence against Shahril’s suit in July. Recall that following his ascend as PKR deputy president in July, Rafizi had in his statement of defence raised the issue of the latter’s remuneration when he served as the CEO as it did not commensurate with Sapura’s financial performance.

This is especially so as the O&G outfit has been incurring losses since 2012/2013.

“Sapura had courted a barrage of criticism pertaining to remuneration payments made to Shahril at that time,” noted Rafizi in a statement filed by Messrs AI Nathan on Friday (July 22).

The Pandan MP-elect went on to share that institutional investors such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group (MSWG) had also deemed Shahril’s remuneration package as “excessive, obscene and irresponsible”. This was raised in the company’s 2018 annual general meeting (AGM).

He said EPF subsequently reduced its shareholding and ceased to be a substantial holder of Sapura.

Shahril had filed the suit against Rafizi through solicitors Messrs Zul Rafique & Partners on May 11 following Rafizi’s statements made in three articles published on his social media accounts in reaction to ex-premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak urging the government to inject more funds into Sapura Energy in order to save it.

Rafizi had opposed Najib’s view of further bailing out Sapura Energy, claiming that public funds should not be used to protect the elite.

“I have taken a stand to defend what I have stated in court as they are a matter of public interests,” Rafizi pointed out in a statement.

Since 2010, he said he had gone through 14 court cases from the Sessions Court to the Federal Court to defend the use of public funds.

The cases involve financial scandals like the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFC), 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Tabung Haji and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT).

“So far, I won all the suits that were brought against me in court. In the court process, the people can evaluate in detail the background of the financial scandal,” added the PKR deputy president.

Yesterday (Dec 8), Sapura Energy reported headline earnings of RM10.2 mil for its 3Q 1/FY2023, attributed mainly to foreign exchange (FX) gains of RM151.3 mIL and other exceptional items amounting to RM12.4 mil.

Excluding these items, the group reported a core net loss of RM128.7 mil, thus widening its core net loss for 9M FY1/2023 to RM289.7 mil (9M FY1/2022: RM966.8 mil core net loss), according to PublicInvest Research.

At 9.45am, Sapura Energy was up 0.5 sen or 12.5% to 4.5 sen with 137.46 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM719 mil. – Dec 9, 2022

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