Insolvency puts Bumi firm’s RM132m suit against BNM on hold
KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — A Bumiputera builder’s RM131.9 million lawsuit against Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for wrongfully terminating a RM320 million construction contract and misrepresentation has been put on hold due to the winding up of the company.
In the lawsuit filed by H & I Niaga on June 20,the firm had claimed RM131.9 million in compensation.
But a court decision yesterday to allow Affin Bank to wind up the company for a debt of RM12.8 million has caused H & I’s case to be stayed.
“It is now up to the liquidator to decide whether to pursue further action against Bank Negara,” said DAP’s Tony Pua, who had helped highlight the company’s situation last Sunday.
The two former directors of the now wound-up H&I Niaga stressed the importance of a settlement with Bank Negara, saying today that the company still owed RM23.1 million to 123 subcontractors and suppliers.
They confirmed that Affin Bank had filed the winding-up application before the lawsuit against BNM was filed, but said that the RM12.8 million debt was actually owed by its subcontractor.
H&I Niaga had won a RM320 million contract in September 2005 to build the central bank a financial services resources centre, which had been scheduled for completion by August 2007.
Last Sunday, the firm's then executive director Amerudin Ismail had claimed that it had incurred extra costs when the project was delayed due to the central bank's indecision.
He claimed Bank Negara had twice verbally assured the firm it would pay compensation for the extra costs, once on May 16, 2009 and again on April 8, 2010, but had instead axed the contract 20 days later.
The company's then managing director, Datuk Ismail Mohd Hashim had also last week told reporters that H&I had put in close to RM16 million of its own money into the project.
Amerudin claimed the company was threatened into signing a supplementary contract with BNM that was "very unfriendly, harsh and one-sided" or their services would be terminated.
He added that BNM had gone ahead to terminate the contract in the end, allegedly because H&I was late in meeting a deadline in building the facade.
"But those milestones are handled by our sub-contractor and it's not our direct responsibility," Amerudin said.
Datuk Ismail had also last week said that the company had got the contract by using its own capability, after reporters asked if H & I was affiliated to any political party.
H & I Niaga had filed a lawsuit against BNM, the bank's governor Tan Sri Zeti, the bank's then deputy governor Datuk Zamani Abd Ghani and its then assistant governor Datuk Mohd Nor Mashor.
The company had wanted BNM to compensate the firm RM81.9 million spent on the job and another RM50 million for damage to its reputation.
The company had sought the DAP's help to highlight the case after exhausting all avenues - including bringing the case for arbitration, bringing up the matter with the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister's Office.