Monday 27 June 2011

RM400 million asset division stalls divorce for Taib's son

There was a brief, tense moment in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court today during the divorce settlement proceedings of the Sarawak chief minister's son Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib after the distribution of assets was brought into question.

Lawyers representing his former wife Shahnaz A Majid, the sister of jazz queen Sheila Majid, asserted they had served the necessary discovery documents on Shahnaz's claim of RM400 million from the son of the Sarawak strongman.

One of the documents Shahnaz's lawyer Dr Mohd Rafie Shafie claimed to have handed to Bekir is an ex-parte order obtained from the court, dated May 9, calling for a discovery of Bekir's assets in Malaysia and abroad.

NONEHe said a discovery of the assets, which his law firm and co-counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader had made, was also handed to Bekir (left).
Rafie claimed that Bekir did not want to receive their letter and documents when a representative went to his house in Desa Nusantara, Sri Hartamas, on June 22, forcing his maid take it instead.
“Our representative went to Bekir's house at Duta Nusantara, Sri Hartamas, on June 22. However, Bekir did not want to receive our letter and documents and instead his maid received it on his behalf,” Rafie said.

However, Bekir's lawyers - Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Man - denied that their client had received such a claim.

"Our client was at home the whole day and did not receive any documents. Under the law, the documents should have been handed directly to my client," Zainul Rijal said.
No details furnished, say Bekir's lawyers

Co-counsel Saadiah also said it was improper for Shahnaz to submit the ex-parte application as the order dated May 9 had elapsed.

NONEBekir, on the other hand, claimed his former wife had failed to give details of their joint matrimonial assets - for which she is staking a claim - preventing him from filing a defence.

This followed an interlocutory application filed by Bekir's lawyers on June 23, asking Shahnaz to provide the details of the hundreds of acres of land in Sarawak that Shahnaz (right) is seeking.

"She is also claiming a stake in houses all over the country and outside Malaysia, but did not furnish details," Zainul Rijal said.

"According to the law, those making such claims must provide the details of the assets the person is seeking, so that we can verify them. Not doing so will result in us not being able to reply."
In light of these discrepancies, chief syariah judge Mohamad Abdullah ordered Shahnaz's lawyers to hand over all the required documents to the lawyer instead of handing them directly to Bekir.
Rafie said it would take some time as he had made four copies that were handed over and now these had to be handed over again.

Mohamad fixed Aug 9 for mention, before which Rafie and his co-counsel are required to give the necessary documents to Saadiah. These would in turn be given to Bekir to verify and to prepare his reply.

Under the syariah law system, the claimants are required to furnish the details of the assets in a claim and the defendant or respondent will then verify whether this is legitimate.

Consolidatory gift claim re-filed 

This is especially so if the assets could be in the name of others as well and not solely in the respondent's.

In a related development, Shahnaz had re-filed the mutaah (consolidatory gift) claim on June 9, following the divorce pronouncement made by Bekir on May 9.

It was reported that Shahnaz is seeking RM300 million in matrimonial assets and another RM100 million in mutaah following the divorce. Bekir also submitted a separate divorce application.

The couple has a 17-year-old son.

Shahnaz, 48, claims that she and Bekir own residential properties in many places, thousands of hectares of land in Sarawak, and land in Bukit Tunku in Kuala Lumpur. They also have seven luxury cars that include the Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley and Maserati marques.

Their joint assets include shares in 15 companies, including Cahaya Mata Sarawak and Sarawak Cable Bhd.

The couple also possess assets in the form of savings, money in the Employees Provident Fund and Amanah Saham Bumiputera units. The detailed information on the assets will be presented during the hearing.

Shahnaz is claiming RM300 million in the joint assets accrued during marriage, which she is entitled to. She also wants Bekir to submit the original land titles to the court or to her legal representatives.

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