KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has won the first round in the suit against Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.
In the case management which took place in London on Aug 2, Brown applied to the court for the Marang member of parliament to deposit monies with the court as a security for legal costs involving the parties court proceedings.
In a statement, Hadi’s political secretary Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said “This is in the event he (Hadi) was to lose the case and would have to pay Rewcastle-Brown’s legal costs, which she estimates to be around £800,000 (RM4.5 million) in total for the whole hearing till completion”.
The suit was in respect of an article claiming Hadi received bribes from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the tune of RM90 million.
According to the New Straits Times, Hadi was represented by Jacob Dean who argued that there exists well-established laws between the UK and Malaysia which allows for Brown to claim the costs through Malaysian courts, which will see a cost of not more than RM80,000.
“Based on his confidence on the case from the beginning, Hadi had already offered to deposit this amount with the court, which was sufficient and uncontroversial.
“Rewcastle-Brown’s arguments that she cannot successfully bring a legal suit against Hadi in Malaysia as the judiciary, government and the Prime Minister are corrupted and are complicit with him was rejected by the court.
“As the court observed, these serious allegations were not supported by any evidence from Rewcastle-Brown whatsoever, despite having months to provide some,” he said.
Samsuri added that the London Court had also made it clear that in the absence of evidence, the court could not accept that another sovereign state that has good ties and relationship with UK is corrupt.
The court accepted Hadi’s offer to pay the RM80,000 deposit.
The English news daily reported Samsuri saying that Rewcastle-Brown was ordered to pay Hadi two thirds of his costs of the exercise.
She has to pay £15,000 (RM83,719) to Hadi now, with the quantum of the balance to be assessed by the court in due course.
“The court also ordered Rewcastle-Brown to submit her defence into court within 21 days so Hadi can proceed with this case and she cannot continue to prevaricate,” he said.
A request to appeal this judgment by Rewcastle-Brown’s lawyers was disallowed by the court.
“This is a very positive development for Hadi in his bid to clear his name of the allegations by Rewcastle-Brown and Sarawak Report in their article,” Samsuri said.