CIDB withdraws RM1.6m lawsuit against Jepak Holdings

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

THE Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has withdrawn its suit against Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, in which it seeks payment of over RM1.65 million in outstanding levies over a solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Counsel Afifah Afif, who acted for the solar company, told Bernama that the matter was announced by CIDB’s lawyer Nor Ahyani Ahmad when the case came up for management through e-Review before High Court deputy registrar Maslinda Selamat yesterday.

“They (CIDB’s counsel) decided to withdraw after we set aside the judgment-in-default (JID) against our client. They don’t have the case against our client,” Afifah said, adding that the court granted CIDB’s application to withdraw the suit with no order as to costs.

The solar hybrid project is the subject matter of the ongoing corruption trial of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

On March 9, the High Court allowed Jepak Holdings’ application to set aside the JID order obtained by CIDB for the company to pay the money.

The company filed the application on Feb 11, and among others, applied for a court order to set aside the JID order dated Jan 13 for RM1,656,250 to be paid at an interest rate of 5% per annum from the date of judgment and costs amounting to RM1,500.

In the application, Jepak Holdings, among others, said it did not receive the writ of summons and statement of claim filed by CIDB, and only found out about the legal action taken against the company through a news portal on Jan 1.

The company said it did not intend to or carelessly remain absent from the hearing because if the company had received the writ of summons and statement of claim, it would definitely have defended itself.

On Jan 13, the High Court had granted CIDB’s request for a JID to be entered against Jepak Holdings after the company failed to be present in the suit filed by CIDB as the plaintiff.

In a statement of claim filed on Dec 2 last year, CIDB said based on the provisions under the Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board Act 1994, it reserved the right to impose a levy on any registered contractor before commencing construction work on projects valued at RM500,000 and above for a 0.25% of the total contract price.

According to CIDB, on Nov 10, 2016, Jepak Holdings was appointed to carry out contract works known as the “Proposed Implementation Through Direct Negotiations for Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Diesel Gen-sets for 369 Sarawak Rural Schools” worth RM1.25 billion.

CIDB said a notice of claim dated Aug 16, 2019, was issued against the defendant to claim the outstanding levy amount, which had yet to be paid.

Therefore, the plaintiff demanded that the defendant pay the RM1,656,250 due as of Aug 16, 2019, with interest, costs and other relief deemed appropriate by the court.