Jul 9 – Felt ecstatic today as it was a closure to a nine years legal saga when the Kuala Lumpur High Court awarded the case to my company where we sued a Yemeni trading house for a breach of sales contract.
It all started in 1999 when I sold on behalf of my company 2,000 m3 MDF worth US$ 380,000 to the Defendant based on FOB terms. The shipment was made according to the sales contract and the Bills of Lading which is the legal ownership of the cargo was submitted to the Defendant’s bank for payment against their Letter of Credit. The cargo arrived in Syria damaged and the Defendant found some discrepancies in the documents and refused payment. Meanwhile, the Defendant’s end buyer in Syria got a Court Order to caveat the cargo in Syria, which rendered the Bills of Lading (ownership) worthless.
I was truly stuck where my cargo was taken right under my nose without payment and the cargo was frozen in a foreign land, thousands of kilometers away. The Defendant then demanded a US$ 100,000 discount which was an outright ransom for the cargo. The discount was reduced to US$ 50,000 and finally to US$ 20,000 but with the backing from my Company, I refused to give any discount because the shipment was made based on FOB terms where the seller’s responsibility ended when the cargo was loaded onto the vessel in the loading port.
The Defendant then abandoned the cargo and returned the Bills of Lading.
I then had to reclaim the cargo as the legal owner where I traveled to meet the Defendant’s buyer in Syria. With the help of a Lattakia based lawyer, I threatened to sue the Syrian buyer for holding the cargo illegally. Although, I had an air tight case against the Syrian buyer but the legal proceeding in Syria was a nightmare which I would avoid at all cost. Finally, with the threat of a legal suit in one hand and the carrot offer of US$ 20,000 as compensation in the other, the Syrian buyer agreed to lift the Court caveat. With the caveat lifted, I managed to sell the cargo to another buyer based in Damascus.
When I returned to Malaysia, I filed a legal suit against the Defendant and it was the start of a long legal battle. It was an exhausting affair with many delays and postponements. It was a war of attrition where I had experienced a change of four law firms and six lawyers throughout the 9 years. After attending Court in three different locations, after wasting many hours going through affidavits and spending RM 100,000 in legal fees, the Kuala Lumpur High Court finally made a judgement in my favour.
The feeling was really ecstatic. It was like a great release after years of anticipation. The end to an interesting chapter of my life.