PUTRAJAYA (Nov 16): The Court of Appeal on Tuesday (Nov 16) fixed Dec 2 to hear former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak's appeal of his negligence and breach of duty suit against former AmBank customer relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, along with AmBank Islamic Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd with regard to the management of four of his banking accounts.
The date was fixed by appellate court senior assistant registrar KB Elena Hong Tze Lan following case management of the matter on Tuesday.
Initially, the hearing of Najib's appeal was fixed for Aug 3 but had to be postponed.
Najib is appealing after his suit against the trio was struck out by the High Court (commercial division) on Sept 28 last year as the court ruled that the suit was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.
Justice Datuk Khadijah Idris said the suit was filed to bolster Najib’s defence in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, which she surmised as an abuse of the court process.
“This action is not filed by the plaintiff (Najib) to seek damages, but for a collateral purpose. This is simply an abuse of the court process,” she said, adding the former premier sought proceedings against the bank and Yu when the SRC case came up and not years before, when the events initially began to unfold.
Justice Khadijah ordered Najib to pay RM30,000 costs to AmBank and AMMB, with another RM25,000 to Yu.
Najib filed the suit against the bank and Yu over the management of accounts under his name to divert funds from SRC, where he also named AmBank Islamic Bank and AMMB for breach of duty and negligence in handling his accounts, which resulted in the former premier being convicted in the SRC trial for misappropriating RM42 million.
The suit was filed in 2019 concerning the four AmBank accounts ending 694, 880, 898 and 906 respectively, which Najib claimed were managed by the bank without his knowledge.
He claimed AmBank and Yu breached their duties and were negligent in the affairs concerning the accounts as they had disclosed information to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), whom the suit referred to as an unauthorised third party.
This included information on the balances of funds, details of cheques, credit and debit remittance transactions and bank account statements, as well as confirmations of cheques issued.
Najib also claimed that the bank and Yu acted on Jho Low's instructions to actively ensure the accounts and other banking statements were kept away from the former premier, and they failed to contact him directly to inform that Jho Low was seeking disclosure of information and documents.
The former premier, who is also the Pekan member of Parliament, has been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years' jail and fined a total of RM210 million by the Kuala Lumpur High Court for abuse of power with regard to the RM4 billion Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) loans and criminal breach of trust and money laundering of the RM42 million, which went into his AmBank accounts.
Najib is presently appealing against the conviction and sentence, and by Thursday (Nov 18), it would have been exactly six months since the Court of Appeal heard submissions on the case before reserving in delivering a decision on the appeal.
In the proceedings of Najib's commercial suit, he was represented by senior counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, while Yu was represented by Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, and Yoong Sin Min and Benjamin Dawson appeared for AmBank Islamic Bank and AMMB.