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Motion by Orang Asli trust fund receiver to strike out appeals dismissed

 | November 14, 2017

The six appealing against a High Court ruling were not in contempt of the court, says Court of Appeal judge Idrus Harun.

Justice Idrus Harun.

Justice Idrus Harun says the six appealing an order to return RM37.5 million to the receiver-manager of the Linggui Valley Trust Fund were not disrespectful of the High Court judgment.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today dismissed an application by the receiver of an Orang Asli trust fund to strike out the appeals of six parties following a High Court order last year.

A three-man bench, chaired by Justice Idrus Harun, said the six, appealing an order to return RM37.5 million to the receiver-manager of the Linggui Valley Trust Fund, were not disrespectful of the High Court judgment.

The appellate court also agreed with submissions by lawyers for the six that the motion to strike out their appeals was defective.

“The six were not in contempt when the receiver-manager filed the motion in September to strike out the appeals,” Idrus said.

The Court of Appeal will now proceed to hear the appeals by ex-lawyers S Kanagawi and his son Dinesh, legal firm Messrs Kana & Co, Virgin Properties Sdn Bhd, its director Ku Azahar Ku Abdul Razak and lawyer Riza Makhzan Ariffin on Dec 19.

Last year, Justice Shamsuddin Hassan ordered Kanagawi, now barred from legal practice, to return RM37.5 million to the Orang Asli after deducting payment of RM500,000 in legal fees.

Shamsuddin found that Kanagawi and his legal firm were liable for misusing, mismanaging and misappropriating money that was meant as compensation from the Johor government.

This came about after a group of Orang Asli, led by Saling bin Lau Bee Chiang, filed a suit in 2008 to compel Kanagawi and three others to account for the money under their care and control.

The following year, a receiver was appointed to secure the movable and immovable properties on behalf of the Orang Asli.

The Johor Bahru High Court in 2000 awarded the RM38 million in compensation to the Orang Asli from the Jakun tribe living around the Linggui water catchment area for loss of livelihood, hunting and foraging.

A sum of RM22 million was placed under the Linggui Valley Trust Fund while another RM16 million was payment for legal fees and other costs.

Kanagawi, one of the trustees, had also represented the Orang Asli against the authorities.


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