Court awards housewife RM825,000 over fraudulent land deal

PETALING JAYA: The High Court today awarded RM825,000 to a housewife whose personal particulars and fake signatures were used in a fraudulent land deal.

The court found seven defendants liable for negligence, the tort of conspiracy and malicious prosecution.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Faizah Jamaludin said Chow Cho Tai, 62, had proved her counterclaim on the balance of probabilities against the defendants.

Faizah also ordered the defendants – WT Development Sdn Bhd, Loh Kok Choy, Te Chong @ Tee Kang Swee, Jiwa Rakyat Sdn Bhd, Chan Yong Sin, Lim Ah Lim and legal firm Messrs Abdul Aziz Rahim & Co – to pay Chow another RM50,000 in costs.

Chow’s predicament began when her name and personal particulars were used to appoint her as a director of Rimau Indah, a property development company.

Later, someone had apparently used her particulars in two sale and purchase agreements and trust deeds to enable the transfer of a land from Rimau Indah to Jiwa Rakyat Sdn Bhd.

In 2017, WT Development, a property development company with the same business address as Rimau Indah filed a lawsuit against Rimau Indah’s liquidators, Chow and the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

WT Development’s main allegation was that the said liquidators and Chow worked hand in hand to regain ownership of the land located in Shah Alam, Selangor.

Chow, who was represented by lawyers Sunil Lopez and Karen Chin, then filed a counterclaim against WT Development and six other defendants.

Faizah in 2017 had struck out WT Development’s suit and proceeded to conduct a trial on Chow’s counterclaim.

Lopez said sometime in 2015, Chow received a letter from the liquidators that she was a director of Rimau Indah and asked for the company’s statement of affairs, failing which she would be liable for criminal prosecution.

A company search with SSM revealed that she was a company director of Rimau Indah and appointed to that position since 2008.

Further, the liquidators also showed Chow that she had “signed” a statutory declaration as consent to be director of the company.

Lopez said a handwriting expert concluded the signatures in the documents were not genuine but the SSM refused to amend their records on grounds they had no powers to do so.

The High Court then granted Chow a declaration that she was not a director and ordered SSM to amend their records.

Chow’s problem did not end there. The liquidators sued her, another director Chin Nyuk Tin and Jiwa Rakyat over the land transfer valued at about RM8 million.

Later, the liquidators withdrew their suit against Chow after the findings of the handwriting expert were made known, and the subsequent court order to SSM.

WT Development, a previous shareholder in Rimau Indah, then filed a suit to stop the liquidators from obtaining the land.

Chow then filed the counterclaim against WT Development and the six defendants.