Zaid Ibrahim & Co (Zico) has said its former chairman, Zaid Ibrahim, was fired from his position for “wholly unacceptable conduct”, in a filing to strike out a wrongful dismissal suit at Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Zico also said that Zaid – who is also suing to stop the firm from using his name – had breached his duties to the firm with conduct that broke mutual trust and confidence and had behaved in a manner unbecoming of a member of the legal profession.
According to the firm, his actions included unilaterally approving RM75,000 worth of renovations to his office without complying to the firm’s procurement policy, and similarly approving RM90,000 worth of drawings for himself and to pay off his car loan.
Zico also said Zaid had disrupted the firm’s administration by instructing staff to add his name as a cheque signatory of all the firm’s accounts, as well as attempting to terminate the firm’s long-standing contractual relations with the wrong company, exposing Zico to third party actions.
Zaid had also sown doubt about the character and integrity of the firm’s partners, while carrying out a “divide and rule” policy to pit some partners against others.
On November 18, Zaid filed a suit to stop Zico from using his name in any form and style as the name of the firm, as well as a court order to hand over all materials such as letterhead, notepaper, invoices and brochures that carry his name.
He also alleged that his termination as an equity partner and chairman on November 9 was wrongful.
In response, Zico said Zaid’s appointment followed the end of his tenure as consultant to the firm from July 2018 to October 2020.
His appointment as chairman took effect on November 1, but the firm issued him a letter of termination on November 9.
Zico denied that equity had been offered to Zaid, and that his appointment was only as a partner without equity and as chairman.
The firm said Zaid had relinquished all interest and equity in the firm since March 2008, when he sold all his equity in the firm in two tranches, for almost RM36 million.
This sale price was “in consideration of the plaintiff’s equity in the firm being sold, which encompassed all the interest, rights and assets attached to the said equity”, Zico said.
The firm said the name “Zaid Ibrahim & Co” belonged to the company and not to the plaintiff or anyone else.
It said Zaid had never questioned this matter from his departure in 2008 until the suit he filed recently.
“His suit is therefore time-barred by doctrine of limitation pursuant to Section 6 of the Limitation Act 1953.
“We shall apply to have this action struck out by reason of limitation,” the firm said.
Zaid founded Zico in June 1987 and was its sole proprietor until June 28, 2004, when he sold the first tranche of units in the firm’s equity to nine lawyers.
He sold the remainder of all his equity in March 2008 to two lawyers in the firm, when he was appointed a minister in charge of legal affairs.
The appointment to government meant he had to cease employment as a practising lawyer.
He resigned from the cabinet in September 2008 over the government’s use of the now abolished Internal Security Act.
Zaid, who was Kota Baru MP for one term from 2004 to 2008, has been a member of several political parties: Umno, PKR, KITA and now DAP. – TMI