Chesterfield board approvals may be subject to curbs
By GREN MANUEL
THE Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) yesterday said it was considering legal action 'restraining certain persons' from being directors of investment and property company Chesterfield, or taking any part in the company's activities.
This came on the same day that a staff member at MKI Corp, a linked company which has been suspended from trading for six months, said it had asked the SFC to approve two new board appointments, including a chairman who was believed to be the son of a former vice-premier of China.
MKI wants its new chairman to be Yao Mingwei, son of Yao Yilin.
The new director is Wei Ping, a mainland businessman.
The company has also asked the SFC to approve a notification of the dismissal of the previous chairman and chief executive, Khundkar Khalid Ahmed Hossain.
However no formal clearance has yet been given by the SFC to any of these board changes.
Following a month-long study, which included staff being based in the offices occupied by MKI and Chesterfield, the SFC has now taken over the main role in regulating these two companies, a job normally left to the stock exchange.
The SFC statement about Chesterfield did not name which director or directors may be the subject of SFC action, and said that 'the Directors (other than Wong Kim Chao) have no objection in principle to the SFC's proposed action and are continuing to co-operate fully with the SFC'.
A previous statement by Chesterfield disclosed that investigations were underway into Mr Wong's role in a series of property deals, including the troubled Zhongshan Garden project in China, whose value in Chesterfield's last accounts was written down from $62.1 million to $30 million - a major factor behind the company's rising losses.
None of the parties in either company were available for comment.
However, it is known that Mr Hussain remains in Hong Kong.
The SFC merely said that a statement clarifying the 'MKI situation' would be made in the next few days, and that it would not at this stage reveal the names of the person or persons who might be the subject of restraining orders.
Chesterfield's shares slipped 4.4 per cent to a record low of 8.6 cents, even though the news of the SFC action was not released until the last half-hour of market activity, a fall that increases its chance of being this year's worst-performing stock.
The shares opened the year at 51 cents, and an investor who purchased $1000-worth on that date would now be holding shares worth $168.