High Court quashes bid to strike out Sarawak solar hybrid project dispute

The defendant (Saidi as pictured) should be allowed to defend himself in a full trial, having raised triable issues in the case, said the judge.

The defendant (Saidi as pictured) should be allowed to defend himself in a full trial, having raised triable issues in the case, said the judge.

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 13): The High Court has dismissed a striking out application brought by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd's former managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin in a lawsuit against him by by his former partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah.

Justice Datuk Ahmad Bache also dismissed an application by Rayyan for a summary judgement in the case, which is linked to the controversial RM1.25 billion solar hybrid energy project for rural schools in Sarawak.

A summary judgement is made when one party moves the court to make a decision without a trial. 

Ahmad Bache said that the defendant (Saidi) should be allowed to defend himself in a full trial, having raised triable issues in the case. 

“After perusing the cause papers (including all the affidavits and pleadings), this court was satisfied that the defendant had raised bona fide triable issues and in the circumstances of the case, the defendant should be allowed to defend himself in a full trial,” Ahmad Bache said. 

The judge further added that due to the circumstances surrounding the case, and the huge amount of money involved in the plaintiff’s claim, it is not safe to decide on this case without a full trial being held. 

In quashing the summary judgement application, Ahmad Bache also said that because there are triable issues, the striking out application brought by Saidi should also be quashed. 

“At the risk of repetition, as these have been decided in the summary judgement application earlier following the issues raised by the plaintiff, that, this court opines, warrants a full trial as there are triable issues, and hence the application for a striking out should be dismissed,” the judge said. 

The judge then said the case will go for a full trial and ordered that case management be fixed before the deputy registrar. 

Rayyan, who purportedly helped Jepak Holdings secure the solar hybrid project, has claimed that he was appointed a consultant by Saidi in early 2016 to draft a working paper relating to the project.

Rayyan, 40, claimed that he was promised in a verbal agreement that he would receive RM10 million if Jepak Holdings bagged the contract.

Jepak Holdings was eventually awarded the job on Nov 10, 2016, with the project said to be worth RM1.25 billion over a period of three years.

According to Rayyan, he asked Saidi to pay the RM10 million service fee for his help in securing the project, but the latter was reluctant to do so.

On Aug 10, 2017, Rayyan received RM1 million for his services from Saidi. The former then asked for payment of the remaining RM9 million but did not receive it.

Rayyan alleged that Saidi had not paid him the outstanding amount, which led him to file the suit to seek the remaining RM9 million as well as an additional RM20 million in lost investment opportunities and business, general damages, interests and costs.

Saidi, however, claimed that he only promised to pay Rayyan RM1 million for his services, and that Rayyan had agreed to the amount.

Saidi also denied any oral agreement between him and Rayyan concerning the RM10 million.

The solar hybrid project, which sparked the legal dispute between Rayyan and Saidi, is central to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's corruption trial, in which she is battling three counts of graft for purportedly receiving a total of RM6.5 million from Saidi to help him secure the contract.

She allegedly received the money at her Jalan Duta home and the prime minister's official residence in Putrajaya between January 2016 and Dec 20, 2017.

Besides this civil suit, Jepak Holdings has also filed a suit against the Ministry of Education for the termination of the solar hybrid contract in 2018.

Jepak Holdings is also seeking to be placed under judicial management (which is a debt restructuring method that a qualified insolvency practitioner is appointed an independent judicial manager to rehabilitate a financially troubled company) and for a winding-up petition filed against it to be dismissed.

Surin Murugiah