The Way It Works In The Malaysian Courts? EXCLUSIVE TEXTS REVEALED

The Way It Works In The Malaysian Courts? EXCLUSIVE TEXTS REVEALED

The texts that sparked a police report by the Chief Justice are now circulating on social media and so Sarawak Report will now detail those allegations having sent requests for comment from the named parties involved.

At the heart of the interchange that has caused so much concern is a civil suit lodged in KL by a former legal officer against a major Norwegian oil and gas services provider, Aker Solutions.

A local manager of the company has recently been charged with corrupt practices relating to contracts being sought from Petronas and press reports of the separate civil suit indicate that the former KL legal counsel to Aker has sued the company for wrongful dismissal and defamation on the basis she had attempted to report wrongdoing in 2018 but was sidelined and then blamed.

The texts relate to an interchange between an apparent employee of Aker by the name of Harald and an individual who is either representing the legal officer or is the litigant herself.

One excerpt, now circulating online, opens with the latter protesting that mobile phone texts are “not safe”.  Harald replies he is out of WhatsApp range, but he is using his wife’s phone as an apparent precaution. This would indicate the participants are aware of the sensitive and secret nature of their conversation:

Excerpt from the text messages that sparked a police report by the Chief Justice

Excerpt from the text messages that sparked a police report by the Chief Justice

The conversation then takes a more damning tone as Harald volunteers advice that his interlocutor would do “best to propose a settlement”, because he claims that Aker has ensured that it will win the outcome of an upcoming judgement in the courts.

Harald goes on to explain why the die is already cast in his opinion. He says it is because “Frode”, assumed to be Aker’s chief legal counsel Frode Stromo, had:

“shown the committee a chat record between himself andand Mr lim chee wee. In that Mr Lim has confirmed “the path is covered till the CJ. We had used Rosli Dahlan”.

The available excerpt from the text appears to indicate that the position of the CJ [Chief Justice] on the matter is then discussed. The details are not available.

At which point the representative of the litigant is seen to reply:

“Are you sure Harald? Why would the CJ risk her reputation over Aker?”

This is a question many Malaysians would surely ask and indeed the Chief Justice’s own department is now behind the lodging of a police report on the matter now that the texts have become public.

That police report accuses two lawyers of bringing the judiciary into dispute as a result of these exchanges and it is understood they are named as Lim Chee Wee and Rosli Dahlan, who is known to be the prime minister’s own personal lawyer and who has been elevated into several highly influential roles in a number of key cases being litigated by the Malaysian government since PN seized power.

The reason, retorts Harald in the final excerpt, where he promises that his information that the case has been rigged is quite correct, is because the matter has become political:

“Yes I promise you. The 2 Norway govt rep had in previous meeting stated the ultimatum to Aker. Get this cleared! It is no longer Aker vs you. It is a bilateral issue. Discuss with your lawyer but in the meeting we were guaranteed your appeal will not succeed as the path is taken care for us. Propose….” [highlight added]

What Happened And Who is Conning Who?

The implications of this discussion are serious on many fronts whatever the interpretation on these remarks. Firstly, that a major Norwegian company appears to have found fit to seek to go round the backdoors of Malaysia’s legal system to pressure for a desired outcome in the courts is scandalous.

Worse is the suggestion of influence peddling by the Norwegian government, whether true or not, and worse still the suggestion that the Malaysian government might be willing to assist by leaning on its own judiciary.

Alternatively, has the Aker representative and his alleged source on the matter, the company’s senior legal counsel, been hoodwinked by two KL lawyers who are simply using their famed closeness to each other and to the seat of power to drum up expensive clients?This too would be most serious and doubtless one lawyer would be likely to claim their name was falsely cited by the other.

There is a final suggestion, equally distasteful, for which there must also be culpability. This is that either Frode Stromo or Harald are bluffing and that entirely false information is being passed to the litigant and or the company in this matter in order to arm-twist a settlement by trading on a perception that powerful lawyers in KL can sway judgements thanks to their political connections.

Whichever the combination of above concerns proves to be correct the Chief Justice was right in complaining that such interchanges bring Malaysian justice into disrepute and therefore the matter should be thoroughly investigated and those culpable disciplined for contributing to what is already a widespread perception of growing mistrust that has been far worsened under the present government, thanks to the use of crony lawyers to pursue secretive negotiations over 1MDB and other matters.

Sarawak Report has reached out to the parties named. So far Rosli Dahlan has proven unwilling to answer the telephone on the grounds of travel. Sarawak Report understands the MACC are unable to interview him owing to his being back in Malaysia but “under home quarantine”.

Lim Chee Wee, who is now a partner in his own legal firm, has responded on the matter to say that the entire episode is a ‘fabrication’ that has apparently taken in the Chief Justice herself. He says he will lodge a police report on Sunday, telling Sarawak Report:

“I will respond substantively to your email below within 24 hours after I have lodged my police report tomorrow morning Malaysian time denying these baseless and fabricated allegations”

Sarawak Report is yet to receive an immediate response from Aker Solutions.