PUTRAJAYA, Sept 6 — Five former non-executive directors of FGV Holdings Bhd today succeeded in their appeal to reinstate a counter claim filed by them against the company and 10 others over alleged losses incurred from its acquisition of Asia Plantation Ltd. (APP) in 2014.
Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who led a three-member panel, in a unanimous decision, said the court found that there was a point of law that required serious discussion and a triable issue raised by the counsel representing the appellants (five former non-executive directors of FGV) to be heard and decided by the court.
“We are of the view that this is not an obviously unsustainable case that can be struck out at this stage. Therefore, we allow the appeal and set aside the learned judge’s decision with costs of RM10,000,” Justice Abdul Karim said when delivering the decision in a virtual proceeding today.
The other judges on the bench were Datuk Supang Lian and Datuk Ghazali Cha.
The five are appealing against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling on November 8, 2019 which allowed an application by FGV and 10 others to struck out the counter claim filed by them, who were named the plaintiffs in a suit.
The panel made the ruling after hearing submissions from counsel Fahda Nur Ahmad Kamar, representing the five appellants, and Andrew Chiew, who appeared for 11 respondents.
The five individuals 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 filed the counter claim on February 11, 2019, naming FGV and 10 others.
The 10 others named 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.
On November 23, 2018, FGV sued its former president and chief executive officer, Datuk Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah and 13 others for RM514 million and other damages. However, the five filed the counter claim against FGV and 10 others.
Four of the defendants were then FGV chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, former chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha, former vice president (Downstream Business Development Cluster) Farisan Mokhtar and former senior general manager (Downstream Cluster) Rasydan Alias Mohamed.
Nine others were former non-executive directors — Ismee, Wan Abdul Aziz, Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob, Datuk Omar Salim, Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid, Datuk Yahaya Abd Jabar, Datuk Faizoull Ahmad, Nozirah and Fazlur Rahman.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said the suit concerned the company’s acquisition of 100 per cent equity interest in APL through a voluntary conditional cash offer in 2014. — Bernama