Najib’s suit against AmBank must go for full trial, says lawyer

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex August 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex August 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The High Court here was told today that the suit brought by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak against AmBank and its former relationship manager, Joanna Yu Ging Ping must go for a full trial as it involved breach of duty of the bank and its officer.

Najib’s counsel, Harvinderjit Singh submitted that there were suspicious transactions in his client’s Ambank accounts.

“The bank had knowledge about the matter, but they failed to lodge a report to the authority. This a serious issue,” he said, adding that the suit had nothing to do with SRC International Sdn Bhd’s case faced by his client.

Harvinderjit was making his submission in objecting an application by AmBank, AMMB Holdings Berhad and Yu and to strike out the suit brought by the former prime minister.

The lawyer also contended that the bank did not inform Najib about the suspicious transactions and his client only found out about this during his RM42 million SRC International trial last year.

“AmBank was already (allegedly) found guilty (by Bank Negara) for not reporting suspicious transactions in the plaintiff’s accounts. We did not know. AmBank did not disclose it to us. The authorities did not inform us until the SRC proceedings,” he said.

Meanwhile, AmBank’s counsel Yoong Sin Min submitted that Najib’s claim should be struck out as the lawsuit was filed by Najib for the collateral attack in the SRC proceedings.

“The plaintiff’s (Najib) claim was filed for the collateral attack, namely to thwart and interfere with the SRC International proceedings instituted against him,” she said.

Yoong said the plaintiff’s claim that he was manipulated for RM42 million, but the former prime minister never lodged a police report.

“The plaintiff should be aware of the movement of the money from his accounts,” she said.

Lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, representing Yu, argued that the suit filed against his client was only meant for the collateral attack by Najib relating to his SRC case.

“The SRC case faced by Najib was heard in the criminal court How was it possible for the same case to be brought to the civil court?” he said, adding that this action was an abuse of the court’s process.

Najib, through Messrs Shafee & Co, had filed the suit on December 9, last year at the High Court and named AmBank, AMMB Holdings Berhad and Yu as the defendants.

According to the statement of claim, the plaintiff contended that AmBank and Yu had committed negligence when handling his bank accounts (ending with 694, 880, 898 and 906) by disclosing these to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

Najib claimed that the defendants without authorisation had disclosed his bank statements, debit and credit remittance transactions, and balances of funds of account 694 to Low as the third party.

He claimed that the defendants did not engage with him to report on Low’s action regarding the said bank account and that the bank had facilitated the unauthorised third party to make money transfers between accounts 880, 898 and 906.

The Pekan Member of Parliament contended that he had been kept in the dark about the details of his own bank accounts statements and other related documents by the bank under Low’s instruction.

He alleged that Low with the help of other unauthorised third parties, had made 20 transactions to regularise the accounts totalling RM12 million through several local and foreign remittances of funds and that the accounts had been ‘red-flagged’ by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

The former prime minister said the defendants failed to report and get direct instructions from him despite the accounts being red-flagged.

Najib also claimed that he only discovered the act committed by the defendants during the SRC International trial after the prosecution had revealed the conversations between Yu and third parties.

He is seeking special, general, aggravated and exemplary damages from the defendants.

On July 28, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali convicted and sentenced Najib to 12 years’ imprisonment and fined him RM210 million over the SRC International criminal case.

The hearing before judge Datuk Khadijah Idris continues tomorrow. — Bernama

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