Zaid, Ezam to withdraw appeals over suits against Najib

Zaid Ibrahim and Ezam Noor

PETALING JAYA: Two more critics of former prime minister Najib Razak over his handling of the 1MDB affair will withdraw their appeals as the cases have been overtaken by events, their lawyers say.

Former minister Zaid Ibrahim had applied that Najib returns to the government some US$731 million in his bank account, as well as RM42 million received from 1MDB subsidiary SRC International, while former senator Ezam Noor had filed a suit against Najib and 15 others to recover US$3.6 billion (RM14.8 billion) allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB.

Lawyers told FMT that the new 1MDB board of directors would institute fresh suits against those responsible for causing financial losses to the state firm.

Damien Chan, who is representing Zaid, said a legal firm would step in to take action on behalf of interested parties, including the taxpayers.

“Our client has agreed to withdraw his appeal in the Court of Appeal as 1MDB will not be asking for costs,” he told FMT.

Meanwhile, Farez Jinnah said his client Ezam took a step back because he would not be penalised to pay costs to 1MBD.

“However, there are some minor issues to be ironed out before Ezam’s appeal is officially withdrawn,” he added.

FMT also understands that 1MDB could act in the interest of justice as it was no longer under Najib who was ousted from power in the May 9 general election.

Zaid’s suit had disclosed that US$50 million was deposited into Najib’s accounts between February 2011 and November 2012, and US$681 million, or the much pubicised RM2.6 billion “donation”, in March 2013.

Zaid had also sought a court order to get Najib’ step son, Hollywood movie producer Riza Aziz, to repay 1MDB all monies he might have received from it, as well as properties acquired with 1MDB funds and held under his name or others, including businessman Low Taek Jho.

Last November, the High Court struck out Zaid’s suit saying it did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against Najib, Riza, 1MDB and the government.

The High Court also struck out Ezam’s suit on grounds he did not have the legal standing to act on behalf of Malaysian citizens as he was neither a director nor a shareholder in 1MDB.

Last month a group of former youth opposition leaders who filed a similar suit against Najib, 1MDB and the government also withdrew their appeal in the Federal Court.

They brought a class action last year against the three defendants for paying US$1.2 billion (RM4.75 billion) to IPIC, seeking a court order that the settlement agreement between the Abu Dhabi company and 1MDB at the London International Court of Arbitration be declared invalid.

The Court of Appeal threw out the suit in March, saying the plaintiffs did not have the legal standing to bring the action.

Last week, former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan also withdrew two suits on 1MDB.

Khairuddin and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suit for the tort of misfeasance in public office against Najib over 1MDB was struck out as the court ruled the ex-prime minister was not a public officer.