KUALA LUMPUR (July 2): The High Court today allowed Deloitte partner Ng Yee Hong's application to disqualify the firm of Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership from acting for two committees of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).
Justice Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid delivered the decision this evening via email to Ng and the other parties. However, the judge has not yet provided the grounds for the decision.
Ng's counsel Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar confirmed the decision to theedgemarkets.com.
Ng is implicated as the auditor who signed the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) 2013 and 2014 audit reports, for which there were two complaints filed against him and just had another slapped on him.
Malik had submitted in the High Court last May that Steven Thiru & Sudhar should not act for MIA’s investigation committee (IC) and disciplinary committee (DC) as the firm had represented the two committees in the first complaint against Ng, where the Court of Appeal allowed the application to remove the firm from appearing in the judicial review application.
"The firm and its lawyer are involved from the first complaint. The fact that they are embroiled in the first put them in a position of conflict to act for the IC and DC on the second and subsequently the third complaint.
"We do not have a problem with them cross-examining Ng but we are concerned that the same solicitors are also involved in the second and recently a third complaint by the MIA against our client as if wanting to see our client being implicated," he had submitted.
Ng is facing two different sets of charges in relation to 1MDB. The first followed an allegation made by Andrew Anand Solomon Devesahayam on March 31, 2015 and the other by Damansara member of Parliament Tony Pua on May 26, 2015.
A decision was made regarding the first complaint at the time of the first judicial review hearing last year in which MIA was barred from reporting its outcome, while the second one was still pending.
Counsel Porres Royan for Steven Thiru & Sudhar had argued that the threshold to recuse a law firm is very high
He said the firm had already been involved in cross-examining Ng through its counsel T Sudhar.
"It does not mean that he gave advice to IC or DC. There must be solid evidence and motive that is big to disqualify the law firm.
"There is no sound reason to disqualify the solicitors or evidence that they are acting on the advice of conflict. For this reason, we say this application should be dismissed," the counsel had submitted.