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Slew of boardroom changes at NWP as MD Kee Soon Ling quits amid fraud allegations

KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): NWP Holdings Bhd's managing director Datuk Seri Kee Soon Ling, who is being sued by the timber manufacturing and trading group's new management over fraudulent transactions, has resigned amid a slew of changes at NWP's boardroom announced on Monday (March 21).

Also quitting with the 47-year-old were independent non-executive directors Yew Onn Chong, 67 — who is also being sued by NWP for fraud — and Noor Azri Noor Azerai, 23. Noor Azri has been in the limelight recently for being not just NWP's director, but also a director of three other companies — Bintai Kinden Corp Bhd, Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd, and Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Bhd — at his young age.

The trio's resignations, which took immediate effect, were due to personal commitments, according to NWP’s bourse filings.

It should be noted that Kee trimmed his stake in NWP to 7.81% representing 41.1 million shares on Feb 16, after selling off 12 million shares. Yew only has 0.285% interest in NWP. Noor Azri has none.

Following their resignations, NWP appointed its largest shareholder Datuk Tan Lik Houe, 60, as a non-independent and non-executive director, while his daughter Tan Jyy Yeen, 28, was made NWP executive director. Lik Houe, who had 5.055% in NWP as at Dec 30 last year, upped his stake to 9.14% on March 1.

Also appointed to the board was Datuk Yeo Chai Poh, 44, as an independent and non-executive director. Yeo is a partner of real estate company, GT Nelson Realty Sdn Bhd.

NWP previously announced on Jan 17 that it had initiated legal actions against Kee and Yew, after its new management discovered a series of fraudulent transactions allegedly undertaken by the duo from 2016 to 2021, which had caused NWP and its subsidiaries to suffer losses and damages.

The group alleged that Kee and Yew had permitted or authorised the fraudulent transactions to be recorded and captured in NWP's consolidated financial statements. NWP is seeking RM6.5 million in damages from the duo, as well as an order barring hem from being directors of the group for five years, and to restrain them from exercising the voting rights attached to any NWP shares they own. The executive functions of their directorship have also been suspended.

Then on Feb 7, NWP announced that Kee and Yew had launched a lawsuit against NWP, its CEO Yap Shuh Jian, 59, and four directors — Datuk Mohd Ashri Muda, 61, Lim Gek Shan, 45, Noor Azri, and Ku Chong Hong, 33, — and wanted a declaration that their suspension as NWP directors was null and void. They also sought for injunctions to restrain the defendants from undertaking any decisions of the group that were made without the duo's knowledge or participation. The duo also wanted to restrain the defendants from excluding them from board meetings.

Prior to that, on Jan 12, Maybank Nominees (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd Pledged Securities Account for Lik Houe and Affin Hwang Nominees (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd Pledged Securities Account for Chang Huan Soon sent a requisition notice to NWP to convene an EGM to remove Noor Azri, Mohd Ashri, Lim, and Ku from the NWP board. All four were appointed to NWP's board last November. It also sought to appoint Datuk Tang Shi Nian, Lik Houe and Jyy Yeen as NWP directors.

But the EGM notice was found to be invalid, according to NWP, as it claimed, among others, that the nominee accounts were not members of the company holding at least 10% of its issued share capital as at Jan 6.

For the third quarter ended Nov 31, 2021, NWP's net loss expanded to RM2.73 million from RM1.4 million a year earlier, as quarterly revenue dropped to RM68,000 from RM714,000. The group incurred a net loss of RM8.21 million for the nine months ended Nov 31, on a revenue of RM2.35 million.

NWP shares closed up 2% or half a sen at 25.5 sen on Monday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM134.23 million.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/nwp-reshuffles-boardroom-md-kee-soon-ling-quits-amid-fraud-allegations

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