Lee complains to Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group on Bushon's CHGS land ownership

The Star, February 7, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the founder of the Country Heights Grower Scheme (CHGS), has issued a complaint letter to the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) after discovering that its chief executive officer, Rita Benoy Bushon, held eight plots of land under the scheme.

In a hand-delivered letter dated Feb 6, 2013 addressed to MSWG chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali, Lee expressed shock that Bushon had subscribed to eight plots and was an interested party in CHGS as a grower. The letter was made available to the press. “I would like to lodge an official complaint to you as chairman of MSWG, for comments and representations made by your CEO on behalf of MSWG to the growers, media and public at large which undermined Plentiful Gold-Class Bhd's circular and the independent advice of our independent advisor, Ferrier and Hodgson Corporate Finance,” Lee said.

MSWG declared on its website yesterday that Bushon had eight plots of CHGS. The general meeting will still be held on Feb 8, 2013. When contacted, Bushon refrained from commenting, saying that MSWG would hold a board meeting tomorrow to discuss the complaint letter. Lee also questioned MSWG's decision to “exert its first public influence of this scale over a non-listed entity.”

“We have held several forums of such nature such as Petra Perdana Bhd and IOI Properties Bhd. So, this is not the first time,” said Bushon. She added that the group would look at the nature of complaints before deciding to assist in facilitating a forum. MSWG had, on Monday, facilitated a forum to discuss the proposed termination of CHGS. As a result, some 60-odd growers had made a counter proposal seeking a 12% dividend payment, 10% of the capital to be returned in one month and the remaining portion in six months' time. The scheme is not initiated or owned by Country Heights Holdings Bhd. Instead, Plentiful Gold-Class, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bee Garden Holdings Sdn Bhd, manages CHGS.

Plentiful Gold-Class had initially proposed the termination of the scheme due to its inability to deliver the dividend payout on the stipulated date, Feb 14, 2013. The company decided to hold the general meeting before that date, on Feb 8, to vote on the proposal, as otherwise, the scheme could face default, meaning it would be then handled by the trustee.

Plentiful Gold-Class would need 75% approval from investors attending the general meeting in person or by proxy. CHGS, which was launched in 2007, had raised RM215.5mil. The company had given out 48% of dividends over the five-year period, totalling the return to RM78.5mil. “If carried through on Feb 8, 2013, the growers will not lose any money. Instead, they will be receiving RM294mil as opposed to the RM215mil that the scheme raised,” Lee said in the letter.