KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 ― Sixty British investors have sued former Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi and his IT company, Doxport Technologies Sdn Bhd, for allegedly misappropriating US$4 million (RM12.8 million) in 2009.
Their lawyer, Hasnal Rezua Merican, said today that the British investors ― based in London and comprising both male and female professionals aged between 40 and 55 years, including bankers ― filed the suit in the High Court here last Wednesday against Doxport chairman Azim, director and CEO Sivalingam Thechinamoorthy, accounts department staff Gurmeet Kaur, and the firm.
“They (the claimants) invested money into purchasing Telekom switches and equity in Doxport,” Hasnal told The Malaysian Insider today.
“They were promised that the Telekom switches would be theirs and they would hold it under equity in Doxport... but documents were falsified, just to give them an appearance that the switches are running in Malaysia,” he added.
Hasnal said that the 60 British citizens had invested about US$4 million into Doxport Technologies in January 2009, when Azim was Umno treasurer. Azim, who is currently the Bukit Bintang Umno division chief, was replaced by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah in April 2009.
Hasnal said that the investors lodged a police report in 2011 after discovering that there were no such Telekom switches operating in Malaysia.
“Some documents were generated to show that the switches were receiving calls through them. All these were given to our clients to believe that the switches were operating. But finally when they came down to Malaysia, no switches were visible... So they ended up without any equity in Doxport and without any switches,” he said.
The lawyer added that the investors had aimed to generate income from the traffic of calls recorded by the switches, which Doxport claimed would run in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Hasnal said the investors had come to know of Doxport after the company’s lawyer approached a British citizen in the Pakistani community in London.
“The investors were duped into believing that Doxport was carrying business activities in Cambodia. On the strength of the representation, they were asked to invest. But it was found out later that Doxport was never licensed to operate anything in Cambodia,” he said.
The lawyer added that the police have sent investigation papers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, noting that the investigation took 14 months.
He said that the investors had also lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in 2011, but pointed out that the regulator later decided not to press charges.
“The complaint was they (Doxport) were operating without licence. (But) the finding made by the investigators of MCMC is there seems to be no evidence that they are operating any business at all,” said Hasnal.
The lawyer said that the investors were suing for the return of their investments, besides seeking general and exemplary damages.
The investors have set up a website, which said that several British lawmakers have written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the case.
“I call upon your government to instigate a full investigation of the company by the appropriate regulatory authority so as to restore the confidence of UK investors into the Malaysian market,” Barry Gardiner, who is the Labour MP for Brent North, was quoted as saying.
“I have now written on your behalf to the Foreign Secretary and to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I also intend to raise a question in House regarding this case,” Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy was quoted as saying.
Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin held a press conference later today with lawyers Hasnal and Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin on the case.
At the press conference, Kamarul Hisham said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers have asked the police to conduct further investigations.
He added that the police’s Money Laundering Investigation Division only started scrutinising the case last month.
Case management has been set for March 21 at the High Court here.
Today, Zuraida quoted Lord Ahmed of Rotherham from the UK’s House of Lords as saying: “I have always said that these allegations need to be more thoroughly investigated. I have personally raised this issue with senior members of the Malaysian government and have always been assured that this will be the case.”
Azim ― who served Bank Simpanan Nasional as chairman from 1999 to 2009, and the World Savings Bank Institute as vice-president from 2006 to 2009 ― is also tied up in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal as the chairman of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, the main developer of the trans-shipment project.