KUALA LUMPUR: Bersatu and its principal office-bearers want a lawyer’s suit to recover RM12.5 million in unpaid legal fees to be dismissed as there was no agreement between them.
The defendants said all services rendered by Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla were voluntary and without expectation of payment.
“There was no agreement between the defendants or any of them and the plaintiff (Haniff) to act on behalf of Bersatu,” the defendants said in their defence filed last month, sighted by FMT.
Further, they said, the sum claimed is grossly excessive and unlawful.
“The decision to charge Bersatu the legal fees is an afterthought and the fee claims also did not commensurate with the amount intended to be charged by the plaintiff,” it said.
The defendants added that the alleged invoice issued on Feb 11 this year did not conform with the Legal Profession Act and it was not properly served.
Haniff, in his statement of claim, said the invoice for payment was issued to party president Muhyiddin Yassin, secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin and treasurer Mohamed Salleh Bajuri.
Apart from the trio, Bersatu is also named as defendant in the suit filed in July after all failed to respond to a reminder to pay up.
The defendants also claim that the legal services were rendered at the behest of the party’s former chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Haniff was his legal adviser.
“It was made voluntarily and on a pro bono basis and without expectation of payment,” it said.
Muhyiddin and Salleh said they did not receive any legal service from the plaintiff in their personal capacity.
The defendants said Haniff’s statement of claim lacked particulars and they intend to seek further information.
According to them, Mahathir’s initial role in Bersatu was advisory in nature but he was made the party chairman after he changed his mind.
“Haniff was acting on the instruction and for the benefit of Mahathir and services provided were at no cost to Bersatu and Muhyiddin,” the defence further stated.
Haniff, in his affidavit in response to the defence, said the statement by the Bersatu office-bearers were bare denial.
In his statement, Haniff said the money was for legal services rendered since before Bersatu was formed until it pulled out of Pakatan Harapan early last year, prior to the setting up of Perikatan Nasional.
He added that before the 14th general election (GE14), he represented the party in a kleptocracy, corruption and abuse of power suit against then prime minister Najib Razak and his administration.
The statement said Haniff’s services came to an end on Feb 24 last year following the Sheraton Move, which saw the collapse of the PH government.
No agreement, so no need to pay lawyer RM12.5mil, says Bersatu
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