Jepak Ordered To Pay Rm1 65m Levy Over Sarawak Solar Project
A court order has been issued against Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd for it to pay up RM1.65 million levy linked to the controversial RM1.25 billion Sarawak solar hybrid energy project.
However, the contractor has counter-filed to set aside the judgment-in-default (JID) granted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to the plaintiff, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).
The troubled project is the subject matter of the corruption trial of Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The Education Ministry awarded Jepak Holdings the solar project, which was meant to benefit 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
On Dec 2 last year, CIDB filed the levy lawsuit against defendant Jepak.
According to a court filing dated Jan 13 seen by Malaysiakini, the JID was issued against Jepak for it to pay up RM1,656,250 in the alleged unpaid levy.
The High Court order also directed the company to pay five percent annual interest over the amount as well as RM1,500 in costs.
Under the law, a plaintiff may file for JID if the defendant has not entered appearance in a legal action, despite the court papers having been served on the defendant.
On Jan 13, CIDB also made a court filing claiming that in spite of having served the cause papers on Jepak earlier in December last year, the defendant still had not entered appearance in the legal action.
In response via a counter-filing made on Feb 11, Jepak seeks to set aside the JID on grounds that the company was not aware of the legal action until it was brought to its attention by media reports.
On Jan 18, the company’s counsel Shim De Zhen reportedly said that they were yet to have been served copies of CIDB’s lawsuit.
According to a copy of an affidavit in support of Jepak’s setting-aside bid seen by Malaysiakini, the defendant seeks for the court to allow it to file its statement of defence against the lawsuit.
The court filing further contended that CIDB failed to get court leave before filing the levy lawsuit, as Jepak was already then part of ongoing proceedings for judicial management.
The filing claimed that CIDB contravened Section 410(c) of the Companies Act 2016, which stated that court leave is required before legal action could be initiated against a company already part of judicial management proceedings.
On Jan 16 last year at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Jepak filed to be allowed judicial management so that it could pay its debts linked to the solar project.
On Jan 26 this year, it was reported that the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted Jepak’s application for judicial management, with Mohd Afrizan Husain appointed as the company’s judicial manager.
Afrizan also signed the affidavit in support of Jepak’s current application to set aside the JID.
When contacted by Malaysiakini, Afrizan’s lawyer Faizal Khalid confirmed that Jepak filed the application to set aside the JID.
He added that the matter has been fixed for case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court on March 9.
Jepak is also involved in a suit against the Education Ministry over the alleged wrongful termination of the project. - Mkini
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