THE ZWEEC LAWSUIT AGAINST AWA
- On 6 September 2013, we sued AWA INSTRUMENTS PTE LTD (“AWA”) in the State Courts for the sum of S$57,538.40 for services rendered but which AWA refused to pay. AWA is a Singapore company, managed and run by Mr Fong Kok Wei.
- Instead, AWA filed a Defence and added a Counterclaim against us and our CEO, Mr Liaw Kok Eng (“Mr Liaw”), alleging many frivolous issues which ran into 77 pages in total. We and Mr Liaw denied those allegations, and we decided to let the Court adjudicate on the allegations.
MR PUSPANATHAN’S LAWSUIT AGAINST AWA
- Mr Puspanathan also sued AWA for unpaid commissions. Again, AWA refused to pay Mr Puspanathan and AWA added ZWEEC as a third party in that lawsuit. The third party action against us was not even related to the claim made by Mr Puspanathan against AWA.
THE OFFENDING NOTICES
- However, in the course of the legal proceedings, AWA put up several notices on their website, giving their version of what the legal proceedings were. These notices were clearly intended to put us and Mr Liaw in very bad light. Mr Puspanathan was also put in very bad light by AWA because of his law suit against AWA. We were advised by our lawyers that there is a principle of “sub judice” under Singapore law which prevents parties from openly commenting on ongoing cases before the Court. We were asked whether we wanted to pursue this against AWA but we decided that we will let the Court make its final decision first. We and Mr Liaw did not comment on our case in our website or anywhere else until the Court has rendered its decision.
JUDGMENT IN ZWEEC’S FAVOUR. AWA LOSES
- On 8 January 2019, after 6 long years (much of the delay was attributed to AWA), the Honourable District Judge Loo Ngan Chor pronounced judgment in our favour in open Court. We were awarded the full sum of S$57,538.40 with interest at 5.33% from 6 September 2013 to 8 January 2019 (“pre-judgment interest”) with legal costs to follow.
- On 9 January 2019, our lawyers wrote to AWA’s lawyers to either (a) remove the offending pages regarding the law suit from their website; or (b) publish an update to say that judgment with interest was awarded to us and that their counterclaims against us and Mr Liaw were dismissed.
- In response, AWA, through its lawyers, said that they would remove the offending notices purely out of goodwill. AWA did remove the tab where they used to host the offending notices but a Google search of the offending notices would reveal the same offending notices. Our lawyers wrote to AWA’s lawyers to inform them that the offending notices could still be found when a search is conducted but no further action to remove them has been made. This has caused problems for us, Mr Liaw as well as Mr Puspanathan.
- Therefore, we, and Mr Liaw, have no option but to put this notice up on our website to clarify these offending notices.
- We wish to add that, on 25 January 2019, the Honourable District Judge Loo Ngan Chor awarded us legal costs on an indemnity basis. Mr Liaw was also awarded legal costs on an indemnity basis.
- We were told by our lawyers that the Court awards legal costs on an indemnity basis In most cases, the winning party is awarded legal costs on a standard basis, which is a lower quantum. Indemnity costs are awarded where it is clear that the losing party’s conduct of its case is less than desirable.
In his oral judgment in open Court on 8 January 2019, the Honourable District Judge Loo Ngan Chor said that:-“To sum up, the history of what happened amongst the parties is sufficiently chronicled in the documents, It is not just a case of trying to interpret the history. It is a case of over-reach on [AWA’s] part in that it has been trying to re-write the history.”
JUDGMENT IN MR PUSPANATHAN’S FAVOUR, AWA LOSES AGAIN
- On 28 January 2019, the Honourable District Judge Salina Ishak gave judgment in favour of Mr Puspanathan in his suit against AWA, dismissed AWA’s defence and counterclaim and awarded legal costs on an indemnity basis. The Court will decide on the amount of commissions due to Mr Puspanathan at a later date.
In her oral judgment in open Court on 11 January 2019, the Honourable District Judge Salina Ishak said that:-“Based on the totality of the evidence before me, I was of the view that the [AWA] were liable for [Puspanathan’s] commission and that [Puspanathan’s] claim succeed.On the evidence before me, the reliefs sought by [AWA] in their Counterclaim against [Puspanathan] were convoluted and unnecessarily lengthy, were without merit and unsubstantiated. Accordingly, I dismissed in its entirety with costs.”
- The Court also dismissed the third party claim in its entirety against us and awarded us legal costs on an indemnity basis.
Dated this 14th day of February 2019
- This is an update to our Notice dated 14 February 2019.
- On 13 March 2019, the Honourable District Judge Loo Ngan Chor (“DJ Loo”) issued a written judgment in our case against AWA Instruments Pte Ltd (“AWA”).
- In setting out the reasons for his decision, DJ Loo said:-
“The brevity of this judgment belies how fraught Awa made its case. Owing to the strange way in which Awa chose to present its case – a story long and unstructured in the narrative and short on proof or contradicted by documents with multiplex reliefs may of which were dropped on the first two days of trial – I shall set out in these grounds what I consider the essential disputes and avoid the circumambulatory details that Awa took me through. Where matters are left out, it may be taken that I considered them irrelevant.”
- After setting out his reasons in detail, DJ Loo ended by saying:-
“As would be apparent from my reasons herein, it was my finding that Awa did conduct its case in bad faith, as a personal vendetta against Liaw and Zweec or in an improper or oppressive manner; it was a veritable abuse of process.”
- We (and Mr Liaw Kok Eng) feel vindicated by the words of the learned Judge. We had been maligned by AWA through their offending notices which they had placed on their own website over the years. Now, a Court of Law in Singapore has made it clear that AWA acted IMPROPERLY in BAD FAITH as a PERSONAL VENDETTA against Mr Liaw and us.
Dated this 1st day of April 2019