Mutaah claim, not matrimonial assets division


Lawyers acting for Sarawak business entrepreneur Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib yesterday told the Kuala Lumpur Shariah High Court that the mutaah claim should be based on the merits of a conciliatory gift and not a matrimonial assets division. There are clear parameters, it was argued.

Mahmud’s former wife Shahnaz Abdul Majid is claiming a hefty RM100 million in mutaah. Her lawyers also sought for half of Mahmud’s shares in the public listed Cahya Mata Sarawak in which he held a 9% stake.

Mahmud contended that his former wife’s mutaah claim was excessive, and based on speculative valuations provided by her advisor.

Lawyers for Shahnaz defended the credibility of their independent advisor Ferrier Hodgson MH.

Mahmud&Lawyers1

In their oral submission, it was argued that the valuation report was not challenged by any experts of a similar calibre but was instead challenged by lawyers acting for Mahmud – Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Din.

Earlier in November last year, Datuk Zainul in his oral submission had demolished and deemed not credible the Ferrier Hodgson MH valuation report as it had not observed the prescribed Standards 9 of the Malaysian Valuation Standards.

It was argued that the valuation report tendered by the author Andrew Heng should have conveyed a clear understanding of the opinion expressed by the valuer, the basis of the valuation used, and the assumptions and information on which it was based. However, the report declared it did not have access to financial details of a number of Malaysian companies alleged to be owned by Mahmud.

“As a matter of fact, the independent advisor had not written to my client nor to the company secretaries to determine my client’s shares and actual wealth,” Datuk Zainul had said.

Datuk Zainul had further argued that the valuation report tendered failed to specify a date for the inspection of land banks, the name of the inspector or his assistant who conducted the inspection, and a physical description of the property and its condition, available services, etc.

“The report had claimed of land banks with potential palm oil harvests when in reality it was nothing but barren land or marsh undergrowth. There had been no physical inspection or sightings conducted by the author for the valuation.

“The report had also failed to take into consideration my client’s borrowings and liabilities or those taken by his companies when assessing his net wealth,” added Datuk Zainul.

Lawyers Mohamad Rafie bin Mohd Shafie and Akberdin bin Haji Abdul Kader also submitted that their client Shahnaz was not involved in any conspiracy linking her with Canadian fraudsters Cullen Johnson and Elaine White stating that Mahmud had not provided any evidence of communications between Shahnaz and the fraudsters to prove otherwise.

The RM100 million mutaah claim is being heard in the Shariah High Court of Kuala Lumpur before Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab.

The verdict on the mutaah claim will be handed down on 10 March this year.

The former couple were married in 1992 and blessed with a son. The marriage however ended in a divorce 19 years later.

In addition to the RM100 million claim for ‘mutaah’, Shanaz had also filed a number of other claims amounting to RM500 million for matrimonial assets division.

In the RM141 million child maintenance claim, Shahnaz lost when the Appellate Court ruled unanimously in Mahmud’s favour on 14 July 2015 that their only son Raden Murya Abdul Taib Mahmud was matured and capable to apply for maintenance on his own accord as an adult.

Shahnaz had in her application, claimed for her son a terrace house in London (RM60 million), a residence in Bukit Tunku (RM10 million), two Aston Martins (RM5.5 million), medical insurance (RM5 million) and a private trust fund (RM40 million) to be held and managed by her.

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