Vell Paari’s Aussie firm crisis

Claims of misappropriation of funds, missing files, non-payment of salaries 

(The Malay Mail) – An internal financial crackdown of MIC central working committee member S. Vell Paari’s Western Australia-based 4WD auto company is underway following allegations of misappropriation of millions of ringgit, missing accounting files and “stolen” intellectual property manuals.

Three Australian authorities, in the meantime, are investigating his company for non-payment of staff salaries, unpaid superannuation — a retirement and pensions programme — and alleged violation of investment procedures.

Vell Paari told The Malay Mail international audit firm KPMG was conducting forensic examination on the finances of OKA Motor Co., the trading name of Reymer Pty Ltd, that Vell Paari controls.

The audit is also to protect the company’s intellectual property in the form of manuals to manufacture all-terrain trucks and tour buses.

The manuals, valued at RM80 million, were discovered missing recently, he said.

Vell Paari said millions in company funds have also been siphoned out of Australia into a private account in Europe.

In the case of the manuals, he said, sabotage was suspected.

“The manuals that were stored in a computer server are currently being rebuilt.”

On the missing accounting files, he said except for those over the past two years, files from previous years had gone missing.

The son of former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was speaking to The Malay Mail on claims his auto company had collapsed.

“The company has not collapsed. Matters have come to a standstill until we have cleared this mess,” he declared.

He said: “Majority of the employees have now been paid their salaries except for those whose claims have to be verified by the auditors.

“Payments to certain creditors are also disputable and I suspect their accounts are shady. We are putting everything in order and are co-operating with the authorities to get to the root of the problems.”

He said the irregularities came to light in an internal investigation into complaints of nonpayment of staff salaries over the past two-and-a-half-months.

Vell Paari said an email sent to him by an employee raising concerns over non-payment of salaries triggered the internal action.

“I suspected irregularities as we had money from sales of allterrain vehicles while the company was still focused on research and development on a new range of vehicles.

“It was then we discovered millions have been siphoned out of Australia into a private account.”

He claimed OKA chief financial officer Tom Ksserkas had owned up to the auditors that he had misappropriated company funds.

The chief executive officer, Arthur Gold, resigned soon after the forensics audit was commissioned, he added.

He accused both men for the current state of affairs.

“I was not responsible for the unpaid wages.

“I might be company chairman and have other ventures in Australia but I don’t get involved in daily operations as I spend most of my time in Kuala Lumpur. Further, I don’t have a working visa there.”

Vell Paari said he expected a full report from the auditors soon after which he would make police reports against those responsible.

In the meantime, he said, operations at the plant in Bibra Lake have ground to a halt to facilitate investigations.

At least 20 workers have been retrenched.

He said he was liaising with Fair Work Ombudsman that is looking into allegations of unpaid salaries.

“I am aware the workers had also lodged a claim with the Australian Taxation office for unpaid superannuation.

“A complaint has also been filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and I am in touch with the authorities.”

Vell Paari said moves were in progress to relocate the manufacturing plant to Malaysia.

He said he has hired a new COO, an Indian national with expertise in armoured and non-armoured vehicles for Indonesian military, to head the operations in Malaysia from October.