Striking out of former FGV directors counterclaim to be decided on Nov 1

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 6): The High Court is withholding its decision to strike out former FGV Holdings Bhd directors' counterclaim involving RM514 million relating to the purchase of Asian Plantation Ltd (APL), with the matter to only be decided on Nov 1.

Following an in-chambers hearing, lawyer Fahda Nur Ahmad Kamar, representing the five defendants that had filed the counterclaim, told reporters that Justice Datuk Azimah Omar will be deciding on the matter on Nov 1.

The counterclaim was filed after FGV initiated the main suit against the five individuals and nine others for the same amount of RM514 million, for failing to discharge their respective fiduciary duties, duties of fidelity and duties to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence with regard to FGV's purchase of Asian Plantation Ltd (APL) in 2014.

The five are Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob, Datuk Nozirah Bahari and Datuk Fazlur Rahman Ebrahim. They are the 10th to 14th defendants in the main suit.

Fahda told reporters that FGV, represented by lawyer Ang Hean Leng, during the hearing had opposed the counterclaim on the grounds that there was no reasonable cause of action and that it was an abuse of process.

"But we believe we have a right to counterclaim. FGV's action against the former directors is an abuse of process as well," she said.

Besides naming FGV, the five also named 10 individuals - including the company's present chairman as well as non-independent directors and non-executive directors — as defendants in the counterclaim.

The 10 individuals are Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, Mohd Hassan Ahmad, Datuk Dr Othman Omar, Dr Mohamed Nazeeb P. Alithambi, Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad, Datin Hoi Lai Peng, Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, Dr Nesadurai Kalanithi, Datuk Mohd Anwar Yahya and Datuk Mohamed Suffian Awang.

In their defence and counterclaim, the five alleged that the present FGV board had initiated the civil suit to cover up their weaknesses in managing the company that led to a drop in FGV shares and had alluded the losses were due to the APL purchase.

They further claimed that the present board's move was to discredit the previous board, which they said had taken all efforts to expand the company and safeguard its potential future revenue.

They also alleged that the present FGV board had initiated the suit against them to cast the impression that they were corrupted.

See also:
Lawyer questions legality of FGV striking out application against counterclaim
Five ex-FGV directors file counterclaim
FGV sues ex-CEO, ex-directors over APL acquisition