Ex-AmBank manager Joanna Yu allowed to defer filing her defence in Najib's suit

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4): Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping has today been allowed by the High Court here to defer submitting her defence in the suit filed by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak until her bid to strike out the suit is heard first.

The decision was made by Justice Khadijah Idris in her chambers today, who also fixed April 15 this year to hear Yu's striking out application.

Yu's counsel Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, who told this to reporters, said she filed the application because Najib did not disclose a reasonable cause of action in the suit and his action was an abuse of the court process.

"This is also the first time that an issue is raised before the court, namely the role of the court to review investigation powers in criminal matters and the right to institute action," he added.

"The court agreed with us that Yu need not file her defence until her application to strike out the suit which is fixed on April 15 is heard first."

It was previously reported on Jan 29 that Yu is applying to strike out the suit as she filed her application earlier with a certificate of urgency.

Meanwhile, Najib's lawyer Muhammad Farhan Shafee revealed that trial dates have been fixed on Dec 14 to 17 should the striking out application be set aside.

Farhan also revealed that Justice Khadijah had asked AmBank Islamic Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd, who are the first and second defendants in the suit, to file their striking out application, if any, by March 2.

It was reported last December that Najib filed the suit through his solicitors Messrs Shafee & Co concerning the AmBank accounts ending 694, 880, 898 and 906, which the former premier claims that some of the transactions were done without prior knowledge.

The writ and statement of claim alleged that AmBank and Yu had breached their duties and were negligent in the affairs concerning the four accounts, as they had disclosed information to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), who Najib said is an unauthorised third party.

The information complained to be disclosed includes balances of the funds, details of cheques, credit and debit remittance transactions and bank account statements.

The former premier also alleged that Yu and the bank had acted on Jho Low's instructions to actively ensure the account and other banking statements were kept away from him and they failed to inform him that Jho Low was seeking disclosure of information and documents.

Other unauthorised third parties named included Kee Kok Thiam, Ung Su Ling and Jerome Lee Tak Loong.

The former premier further alleges that the bank failed to notify him, that the accounts were being overdrawn by millions of ringgit for over 30 times, as a result of the cheques issued and due to insufficient balances in those accounts.

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