Court of Appeal to decide on Najib's appeal in suit against AMMB Holdings, two others on Thursday (Jan 27)

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal will decide on Thursday (Jan 27) on whether or not to allow Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's (pic) appeal to reinstate his lawsuit against AMMB Holdings Bhd and two others over alleged mismanagement of his bank accounts.

A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim deferred their decision to Thursday after lawyers appearing for the former prime minister and the bank, respectively, completed their submissions.

"We need more time to consider the submissions of the parties. For that reason, we will defer our decision to this coming Thursday, Jan 27,” said Justice Yaacob who led the bench at the online proceedings Monday (Jan 24).

The hearing of Najib's appeal resumed Monday with submissions by lawyers Yoong Sin Min and Benjamin John Dawson who acted for AMMB Holdings and AmBank Islamic Bhd and a reply from Najib's lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh.

Najib had appealed for the court to reinstate his suit against AMMB Holdings, AmBank Islamic and its former customer relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping.

Yu was one of the prosecution’s witnesses in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial where Najib was facing seven charges relating to alleged misappropriation of RM42mil of SRC International funds.

The suit was struck out in September 2020 by Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Khadijah Idris who ruled that the suit was an abuse of the court process as it amounted to a collateral attack on Najib's SRC International criminal case as in the suit, the court is required to adjudicate on Najib's knowledge of monies paid into his account, which was the same issue before the criminal court in the SRC International case.

Yoong submitted that Najib ought not to be allowed to relitigate the same issues relating to his knowledge on the transactions of his account in his civil suit, which was already decided by the trial judge in the SRC International criminal case.

She said Najib filed the action only after he had been cross-examined by the prosecution in the SRC International criminal proceedings and after the prosecution made the submission that he had never taken any action against the bank in respect of his accounts.

Najib's defence to the SRC International charges was that the transactions in relation to his accounts were carried out without his knowledge and by unauthorised persons.

Yoong said that prior to 2016, the issue concerning the dealings and transactions in Najib's accounts had already surfaced when he was investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but he never took any action or lodged any complaint against the respondents (the bank and Yu).

Meanwhile, Harvinderjit Singh submitted that the case should be remitted back to the High Court for trial, adding that Najib should be given his day in court.

"The case before this court is one in negligence. It is not a case for us to determine whether Najib is innocent or not,” he said adding that the issue to be determined in the trial is whether or not there is a breach of duty of care by the bank.

On July 28 last year, High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali convicted and sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210mil over the SRC International criminal case and the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judge's decision on Dec 8 last year. Najib's appeal is pending in the Federal Court.

In his suit against AmBank, AMMB Holdings and Yu, Najib contended in his statement of claim that AmBank and Yu had committed negligence when handling his bank accounts by disclosing them to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

Najib claimed that AmBank, AMMB Holdings and Yu, without authorisation, had disclosed his bank statements, debit and credit remittance transactions, and balances of funds of one of his accounts to Jho Low as the third party.

The court had heard submission from lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, who is representing Yu, on Dec 2. - Bernama

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