KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Hong Leong Finance Bhd chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan have been subpoenaed to testify in the civil action over a deal on a RM445mil syndicated loans facility.
However, Hong Leong is applying to set aside their respective subpoenaes issued by the court on March 23.
Lawyer Andrew Chiew, who acted for the Hong Leong told High Court Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail that he would file an application Thursday to set aside the subpoena issued against both top figures.
Lead counsel D. Paramalingam, who acted for businessman Low Thiam Hoe, named as a sole defendant in the suit by the bank, said that he was not successful in serving the subpoenas to both.
“On Anwar, we have been trying to serve him the subpoena at the Parliament but was unsuccessful. As far as Tan Sri Quek, (we) cannot locate him,” said Paramalingam.
He said he wanted to call Anwar, Quek, Low, Mohd Faiz Abdullah and Hamzah Harun to prove his client's case over the deal.
Faiz, whom the defence claims was Anwar's speech writer, and Hamzah were the directors and shareholders of Arus Murni Sdn Bhd.
At the outset of court proceedings, Chiew was objected to having the two witnesses testify saying that the judge had already dismissed an application by Low to amend his defence statement to include their names.
“It means that they cannot form part of their case now,” he said.
However, Paramalingam stressed that it was still the defendant's case because the evidence would be established through their witnesses.
Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah ruled that “it was premature for me to say anything” as a formal application had not been filed before her to decide the matter and asked the parties to proceed with the trial.
In 1998, Hong Leong Finance Bhd filed a suit against Low for RM28.6mil for allegedly failing to repay its loan.
In 1999, Low filed a counter-claim against Hong Leong Finance, HLGCapital Markets Sdn Bhd and Hong Leong Credit Bhds former CEO Seow Lun Hoo asking for damages for alleged wrongful or negligent advice.
Hong Leong Finance also filed another suit against Mekuritek Sdn Bhdand three guarantors Hussin Abdul Karim, Agus Salim Mohd Dom andAbdullah Abd Karim Bajerai as defendants for a similar claim of RM28mil.
In his defence, Low said that a loan agreement was entered by him as part of a larger transaction by the lenders - the syndicate of bankers and financiers - to finance the majority shareholders of Arus MurniCorporation Bhd which owns Kewangan Bersatu Bhd (KBB).
Questioned by Paramalingam, star witness Seow Lun Hoo, who was former president and chief executive officer of Hong Leong Credit Bhd, 63, testified that the bank was unable to acquire KBB.
“Hong Leong was unable to agree with Arus Murni Sdn Bhd on the valuation of KBB. Therefore, we cannot do the transaction,” he said.
He agreed that Anwar as Finance Minister normally issued the required finance license for financial institutions.
Questioned by Chiew, he said that Hong Leong Finance Bhd (HLFB) was prepared to acquire KBB as part of Bank Negara Malaysia's initiative to encourage financial institutions to merge in late 1997.
“In connection with this, HLFB had conditionally agreed to consider acquiring Arus Murni Corporation Bhd's shares in KBB subject to a due diligence exercise,” he said.
The hearing continues Thursday.
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