The Federal Court has instructed legal firm Tan Hock Chuan and Co to place advertisements or hire a courier before discharging itself from representing 1MDB.
The firm is representing 1MDB in a suit filed by the Pakatan Harapan-linked Gerakan Anak Muda Tolak Najib (Gant1).
Federal Court judge Justice Zainun Ali told lawyer Michelle Lai to use “substitute service” when the latter informed the court that the firm is unable to get instructions from its client.
“We went to the 1MDB office but it was closed. We also tried to fax, but failed,” she told the three-member bench when asked why the firm wanted to discharge itself.
Justice Zainun said if the substitute service fails, then the firm can file the affidavit.
Substitute service refers to the placing of advertisements or hiring a courier to pass the documents.
GANT1 filed the suit against former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, 1MDB and the government last July.
The suit aimed to stop 1MDB’s payments to the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC), which were part of a settlement reached in the London Court of Arbitration.
GANT1 is seeking to declare the settlement with IPIC and its subsidiary Aabar Investment PJS (Abu Dhabi) on May 11 null and void.
The group also wants the details of 1MDB’s payments to IPIC and Aabar Investments PJS (Abu Dhabi) to be revealed to it.
The suit also seeks a declaration that if Najib, 1MDB, and the government are found to be liable for overpaying IPIC, then the excess amount should be returned to a special fund, and committal proceedings can be filed against the defendants.
Overpaying or double payments referred to here means 1MDB had earlier paid the fake Aabar Investment PJS (British Virgin Island) when it should have paid Aabar Investment PJS (Abu Dhabi) which is registered under IPIC. This follows bonds taken by 1MDB to acquire independent power producers.
At the High Court, Najib, 1MDB and the government had failed to strike out the suit when Justice Hue Siew Kheng ordered the case to go to trial. However, this was overturned by the Court of Appeal earlier this year before the general election.
Hence, this appeal by GANT1 at the Federal Court.
Previously, Tan Hock Chuan and Co discharged itself from representing 1MDB in the pink diamond suit by former Umno man Khairuddin Abu Hassan.