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Rosmah fails to rope in police, govt as third parties in suit for missing jewellery

Publish date: Wed, 29 May 2024, 12:28 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (May 29): The High Court dismissed Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's application to rope in the police and the government as third parties in a US$14.57 million (RM68.30 million) lawsuit for 40-odd 'missing' pieces of jewellery.

Judge Ong Chee Kwan ruled that the police and the government, were not entities which prima facie have been found to have committed any wrongdoing in this case and were not responsible to contribute to any liability to Rosmah.

Furthermore the judge said that Rosmah is at liberty to initiate a separate civil suit for any alleged losses suffered from the actions by the authorities in relation to the jewellery.

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Rosmah's lawyer Reza Rahim confirmed the matter with The Edge, after hearing of the application in chambers on Wednesday.

"The court did not allow our application to make the police and the government a third party to the suit, on the basis that the police and the government are prima facie, not joint tortfeasors, and owe no duty of indemnity to [Rosmah].

"However, [Rosmah] is at liberty to file a fresh civil suit for any losses which may have been suffered as a result of the actions of the police and government separately," he said.

He added that the defence will be appealing against this decision.

Venothani Rajagopal, who appeared for the plaintiff, namely Global Royalty Trading SAL, also confirmed the matter when contacted. Senior federal counsel Mohamad Al Saifi Hashim appeared along with federal counsel Syafiq Affandy Hasan for the police and the government on Wednesday.

Following this, the court also set June 2 to 6 next year as trial dates for the main suit.

This is part of Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty's lawsuit against the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for breach of contract over 43 pieces of jewellery, which are allegedly missing following a raid by the authorities in 2018.

As part of her defence, Rosmah had contended that if the 43 pieces of jewellery were lost, the police or the Malaysian government should be made responsible for the losses.

She also claimed that the pieces of jewellery were in the possession of the authorities at all material time. Among others, Rosmah is asking for the police and the government to compensate and/or contribute to the reliefs sought by the jeweller.

A defendant can initiate this against a third party who is not part of the main suit, in order to claim any contribution, indemnity or remedy being claimed by the plaintiff.

The firm, which boasts an A-lister clientele like Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, refiled the US$14.57 million suit in April last year for the pieces of jewellery which were despatched to Rosmah in February 2018.

In her statement of defence, Rosmah said there were companies like Global Royalty which sought publicity for their products, and wanted her to be their customer. She added that items would be sent to her to attract buyers, and she was not obligated to purchase them.

In reply, the firm said that it was a "well established and renowned jeweller" operating internationally, and did not need additional publicity from Rosmah.

Previously, the High Court also dismissed the international jeweller's application for a summary judgement against Rosmah. Ong ruled that there were triable issues in the case, which needed to be ventilated in a full trial.

The court had also allowed Rosmah's security for cost application, and fixed the security cost at RM75,000, to be paid by the Beirut-based firm.

Rosmah filed the security for cost application, arguing that if she is successful in the lawsuit, she would have trouble seeking costs from Lebanese-based Global Royalty, as it is outside the jurisdiction of the Malaysian courts, and without a reciprocal enforcement judgement in Lebanon.

Rosmah had sought for the jewellery company to pay the security cost of US$1 million or its equivalent in ringgit within 14 days of the court order.

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