Court disallows Tajudin’s application to adjourn cases

(The Malaysian Insider) – The High Court here has disallowed former Malaysian Airlines System Bhd (MAS) chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli’s application to adjourn all cases involving him to facilitate out-of-court settlements.

The High Court’s decision will allow dozens of civil suits between Tajudin and various parties — totalling at least 52 cases in the Court of Appeal and High Court — to proceed, The Edge Financial Daily reported today.

All suits in the High Court involving the poster boy of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s plan to groom Bumiputera entrepreneurs fixed for March 8 will go ahead as scheduled, the paper added.

These include suits filed by Pengurusan Danaharta Bhd, Telekom Malaysia, Celcom, CIMB, Naluri Corp Bhd, Atlan Holdings Bhd and national carrier MAS.

The Financial Daily said Tajudin had also applied to the Court of Appeal on January 27 to adjourn “all relevant cases” to enable their settlement to be finalised out of court.

In his application, Tajudin (picture) said he has been asked by Danaharta, the main plaintiff in the civil suits against him, to seek an adjournment as the co-ordination of its many cases had not been finalised.

The appellate court has yet to decide on the application but if disallowed, the case between Tajudin and the national debt restructuring company, scheduled for hearing from February 13 to 15, is expected to proceed.

The case before the Court of Appeal follows a High Court decision on December 7, 2009 for Tajudin to pay Danaharta RM589.14 million with two per cent interest per annum above the base lending rate of Maybank, backdated to January 1, 2006.

The Malaysian Insider reported last August that Putrajaya had directed government-linked companies (GLCs) and national debt restructuring company Danaharta to drop all claims against Tajudin, formerly MAS’s major shareholder.

In a letter sent by de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the GLCs and Danaharta were informed that the Finance Ministry had agreed to settle all outstanding civil suits against Tun Daim Zainuddin’s protégé out-of-court.

In 2009, Danaharta and two of its subsidiaries won a RM589.14 million suit against Tajudin. The case arose after the tycoon executed a facility agreement on July 13, 1994 to borrow RM1.79 billion from a group of syndicated lenders to finance the purchase by him of a 32 per cent stake in MAS.

However, from 1994 to 1998 he failed to service the original loan, causing it to become a non-performing loan (NPL).

In 1998, Danaharta acquired the NPL from the lenders but Tajuddin also failed to settle his debts to Danaharta until it was in default of RM1.41 billion as at October 8, 2001.

As part of a settlement agreement, Tajudin was to pay RM942 million in four instalments over three years and that he was permitted to redeem his charged shares at a minimum price per share.

Tajudin, however, defaulted in the payment of the quarterly interest payable under the settlement agreement and on April 27, 2002, the plaintiffs terminated the settlement agreement and demanded RM1.61 billion from him.