‘Datuk T’s’ Shazryl Eskay due RM20m commission, court rules

(Bernama) – The Court of Appeal here today ruled that businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah is entitled to receive RM20 million in commission fees from a company and its executive director for his services in procuring the controversial crooked bridge project in Johor Baru.

A three-member panel chaired by Justice Datuk Ramly Ali said construing the letter of undertaking, the amount had to be paid for service rendered.

He said Eskay had completed his job and the question of the project being abandoned did not arise.

Ramly said the amount to be paid was not on condition that the project must be completed.

The panel, also comprising Justices Datuk Mohtaruddin Baki and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah, had unanimously allowed Eskay’s appeal to set aside a High Court decision in May 2011 to dismiss his civil suit against Merong Mahawangsa Sdn Bhd and its executive director Datuk Yahya Abdul Jalil.

Ramly also ordered the respondents, Merong Mahawangsa and Yahya to pay RM20,000 in legal costs to Eskay for the court proceedings at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

In his decision on May 5, 2011, High Court judge Datuk VT Singham had ruled that Eskay’s claim was no longer valid since the proposed bridge did not materialise.

Singham said Eskay was not entitled to claim payment because the project was terminated.

The Malaysia-Singapore International Gateway project to replace the Johor-Singapore Causeway (dubbed the crooked bridge) was terminated by the government on April 12, 2006 despite preliminary work having been done.

The government had compensated Merong Mahawangsa RM155 million for cancelling the project.

Eskay, who is one of the members of the “Datuk T” trio who revealed a sex video allegedly showing an opposition leader having sex with a prostitute, filed the suit in 2002 claiming that Yahya had, in 1998, sought his help to procure the project from the government and to seek foreign funding for the RM640 million project.

He claimed that Yahya had sought his help for his good ties with the government.

Eskay also claimed that Yahya had suggested RM20 million as remuneration for his services.

He alleged that in February 1998, he had managed to secure a guarantee from a firm, Charles E. Jay, which was based in Alabama in the United States, for a RM640 million loan as the initial requirement for the project.

He said after he obtained the guarantee letter from the firm, he met the then finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on May 3 1998 to discuss about the proposed project. He also set up a meeting between Yahya and Anwar.

Yahya, in his defence, denied using Eskay’s good ties with the government as doing so was “against public policy and illegal.”

He also denied that Merong Mahawangsa was awarded the bridge project by the government.