Former Umno member Anina Saadudin has withdrawn her lawsuit against Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak to demand the return of a portion of a RM2.6 billion amount to the party, lawyers have confirmed.
Anina’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said his client had filed a notice of withdrawal on September 22 to drop her appeal at the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal was initially scheduled to hear today Anina’s appeal against the High Court’s December decision to strike out her lawsuit against Najib and Umno public officer Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh.
“The date has been taken out by the court because withdrawal was done on September 22,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
Mohamed Haniff said his client’s dropping of this lawsuit is unrelated to her chances in court, but noted that it would be “academic” for her to continue on a lawsuit on behalf of Umno when she had already joined a new political party.
“The reason being Anina is no longer an Umno member and she is already a Parti Pribumi Bersatu (Malaysia) member, there is no reason for her to fight for money to be delivered back to Umno. That is the struggle of Umno members to do it on their own,” he said.
Haniff stressed that the RM5,000 amount in legal costs to be paid to Umno’s lawyers was not due to concerns over his client’s chances of success, but was merely a “gentlemanly” conduct to compensate the other side’s legal team for the work they had already carried out on the case.
He also confirmed that Anina’s withdrawal of another lawsuit this month at the Federal Court against Umno office-bearers and withdrawal of yet another lawsuit that is expected to come up in the High Court next month are due to the same reason of Anina now being a PPBM member.
These two lawsuits saw Anina suing Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Ab Rauf in her bid to restore her party membership, while Anina had also challenged the constitutionality of Section 18C of the Societies Act which was used as the basis to argue that Umno’s decision to sack her was final and conclusive.
He said however Anina will continue on with her lawsuit filed together with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan against the prime minister’s purported breach of fiduciary duty and misfeasance in public office, as this lawsuit was filed in their capacity as individual Malaysians and not Umno members.
Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who represents both Najib and Ab Rauf in the lawsuit linked to the RM2.6 billion amount, similarly confirmed that the case has been taken off after both sides signed off on a consent order.
“The appeal has been withdrawn by Anina and we have agreed to the withdrawal subject to the cost of RM5,000 to be paid to my client. So in effect with the withdrawal, it’s the end of the suit filed by Anina with regards to accounts that shows how RM2.6 billion was spent,” he said when contact, adding that they will be writing to Anina’s lawyers for the cost to be paid.
Mohd Hafarizam said his legal team will also be asking for the same legal costs of RM5,000 to be paid when Anina withdraws her third suit over Section 18C.
IDA LIM@The Malay Mail Online