Lawyer Haniff Khatri sues Bersatu for RM12.5m unpaid legal fees

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Bersatu will respond to a suit filed by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla claiming that the party owed him RM12.5 million in unpaid legal fees, its information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan said.

Wan Saiful said he had always thought Haniff was the personal lawyer to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was at one time Bersatu chairman.

“If he was the party’s official lawyer, he would have acted as per the party’s Supreme Council instructions and served the whole party, not serving only one person.

“In any case, our party will look into this allegation and will react accordingly.

“I have to add that it is only now that I know how much Hanif charges. Looking at his price, he is certainly in a different category!” he sarcastically remarked.

Bersatu, now led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, was slapped with the suit last week after the party failed to respond to reminders.

Haniff, in his statement of claim, said an invoice for payment was issued on Feb 11 to party president Muhyiddin, secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin and treasurer Mohamed Salleh Bajuri.

All three were named as defendants in the suit filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Case management has been fixed on Aug 18.

In his statement, Haniff said the money was for legal services rendered before Bersatu was formed until it pulled out of Pakatan Harapan (PH) and formed Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Haniff said that before the 14th general election, he represented the party in a kleptocracy, corruption and abuse of power suit against then prime minister Najib Razak and his administration.

“The plaintiff was called by Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz Mahathir (then Bersatu deputy president) to offer legal advice related to the laws concerning the formation and administration of a political party,” it said.

Azhar Mahfof/The Star

The statement said Haniff’s services came to an end on Feb 24 last year following the Sheraton Move.