SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Catalist-listed Sinjia Land’s group chief executive officer Cheong Weixiong was recently interviewed by the authorities in connection to an offence under the Securities and Futures Act.

In a bourse filing on Wednesday evening (July 20), the backpacker hostel operator said it received a letter, dated July 19, from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) requiring the company to provide certain information and documents relevant to the investigation.

Mr Cheong, who is also the company’s executive director, was interviewed by the CAD on Tuesday as part of the investigation.

Sinjia Land said it will cooperate fully with the CAD and MAS, and added that the group’s business and operations will continue as usual.

The investigation will also not affect the management of the group in the discharge of its roles and functions, the company said.

The probe comes as Sinjia Land is undertaking a US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) reverse takeover (RTO) of Binex Singapore, which plans to start producing sorghum. 

Sinjia Land plans to pay for the acquisition by issuing new shares at 35 cents apiece to Binex’s owners. The price is at a 247 per cent premium over Sinjia Land’s volume-weighted average price of 10.1 cents per share as at Jan 28, which is the last full market day prior to the deal agreement.

The proposed deal had drawn queries from the Singapore Exchange, which noted that Binex Singapore had no revenue and a net asset value of $900,000 as at end-December 2021.

Following this, Sinjia Land said in February that the $2 billion price tag may be revised with a new valuation report it had commissioned.

In June, the company said it had paid US$1 million to Binex Inc, one of the shareholders of Binex Singapore, as a refundable deposit for the RTO.

Shares of Sinjia Land closed up 0.2 cent, or 3.9 per cent, at 5.3 cents on Wednesday before the announcement.

• With additional information from The Straits Times