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PM need not testify
Published on: Wednesday, September 09, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: The bitter falling out between Penampang Umno head Datuk John Ambrose and KDM Malaysia head Datuk Peter Anthony went to the courts, Tuesday, with the Prime Minister's name also being dragged in.However, counsel for the Plaintiff Ambrose, Sugumar Balakrishnan, told the court that the Prime Minister would not be called to appear as a witness in the suit involving two Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) projects here and in Labuan worth believed in the cumulative region of RM70 million.

In the suit, Ambrose is claiming 10 per cent of payments for work done on the projects by Asli Jati Engineering Sdn Bhd. The case revolves around claims of commission and professional fees from both projects.

Sugumar said other proofs would be used to back the case against Anthony and Asli Jati, instead of having to subpoena the Prime Minister.

Asli Jati Engineering Sdn Bhd is the 2nd Defendant and is under the control of 1st Defendant Anthony. Both are being sued by Ambrose, the former head of KDM Malaysia and who now heads Yayasan Bumiputra Sabah.

Judge Justice Gabriel Gumis: "Is it the current Prime Minister?"

Ambrose: "Yes, Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak. I was the one who spoke to the Prime Minister (cum Minister of Finance) to secure the projects. Only the Minister of Finance has the power to approve or negotiate projects.

"Why did the defendants pay me fees if I did not secure the contract for them," Ambrose contended under examination-in-chief by Sugumar.

The two projects in question are "Kerja-kerja penyenggaraan Mekanikal dan Elektrikal di Universiti Malaysia Sabah, FT Labuan (herein referred to as 'the Labuan UMS project') and "Cadangan bagi melaksanakan kontrak bagi kerja-kerja penyenggaraan mekanikal, elektrikal dan sivil secara komprehensif di Universiti Malaysia Sabah melalui kaedah Runding Terus (Skop Bangunan: Bangunan-bangunan di bawah Projek Pembangunan Fasa 2)(herein referred to as 'the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project')."

Ambrose told the court he was seeking an order in terms of prayer (c) of the Statement of claim dated July 25, 2014 because he was not in custody, possession and control of all documents consequential to having successfully secured the Labuan UMS Project and the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project for the benefit of the 2nd Defendant.

"As such I am not in a position to ascertain the contractual value of the aforesaid two projects in order to enable me to determine the exact quantum of the agreed consideration payable to me by the 1st and 2nd Defendants under oral agreements."

Justice Gabriel also queried why being awarded a Datukship by the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sabah in 2007 was considered important to the case by the plaintiff.

Sugumar explained that the various office or positions held by the Plaintiff was to show that he had the connections to liaise with decision makers in power, to prove that it was due to his sole effort that the 1st and the 2nd Defendants managed to get the tendered and negotiated contract.

"It was to establish who had access to the Minister of Finance, who is also the Prime Minister."

Judge: "That's how it works?"

Sugumar: "Yes."

Judge: "Are there any variation orders?"

Ambrose: "No idea, all bills done by the defendants. I don't know how much they claimed. I am not in a position to ascertain as all the billings were done by the defendants."

Judge: "Has the 1st and 2nd Defendants allowed and authorised you (Plaintiff) to liaise with third parties?"

Sugumar: "Yes, as evidenced by the 2nd Defendant's letters dated June 16, 2010, January 3, 2011 and May 10, 2011."

According to the Plaintiff, for securing the Labuan UMS Project and the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project for the benefit of the 2nd Defendant, the 1st and 2nd Defendants jointly agreed to pay the Plaintiff a commission at the rate of 10 per cent of the total contract value of the Labuan UMS Project and the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project including any variation orders thereto (hereinafter referred to as 'commission').

According to the Plaintiff, in addition to the commission, the 1st and 2nd Defendants had also agreed to pay the Plaintiff a sum of RM20,000 per month until the completion of the Labuan UMS Project and the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project respectively including any variation orders thereto (hereinafter referred to as 'additional commission').

According to the Plaintiff, the Labuan UMS Project was awarded to the 2nd Defendant for the contractual period of 3 years with an option to extend for a further 2 years commencing from the year 2009 at the contract sum of RM90,000 per month subject to any variation orders thereto and the Kota Kinabalu UMS Project was awarded to the 2nd Defendant for the contractual period of 5 years commencing from the year 2010 at the contract sum of RM1.2 million per month subject to any variation orders thereto.

Asked whether prior to meeting Najib, Anthony was personally acquainted with him, Ambrose said:

"Yes, as a personal friend and in my capacity as the Chairman of the Penampang Umno Division and as the Political Secretary to the Sabah Minister of Finance."

He said it was he who obtained an appointment for Anthony to meet Najib.

Part of the dispute in the case trial was on a house which the Plaintiff asserted that Anthony had agreed as part of commission in the sum of RM500,000 shall be paid in kind in the form of a house erected on land CL 015422250 located as Lot 8, Taman Moonee, Kota Kinabalu.

In defence and counterclaim dated September 17, 2014, the 1st Defendant asserted that the market value of the said property, a house erected on land CL 015422250, was worth higher than RM500,000 to which the Plaintiff disputed asserting that RM500,000 is fair market value.

The hearing continues.



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