Tune Group’s bid fails as Appeals Court backs Padda Gurtaj in arbitration dispute

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya ruled against Tune Group Sdn Bhd and three others in their appeal against Padda Gurtaj Singh from Singapore.

The appeal was related to the enforcement of an arbitration award concerning the sale of 850,934 shares of Tune Talk to Padda Gurtaj.

According to The Edge, a three-judge panel, led by Judge Datuk P Ravinthran, Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya and Judge Datuk Lim Chong Fong, unanimously upheld the High Court’s decision from 2022 regarding the arbitration award.

Judge Datuk Lim Chong Fong, who delivered the unanimous decision, stated that there were no grounds for the appellate court to intervene, finding no errors in the High Court’s decision.

Judge Lim emphasised that the bench did not discover any instances where the arbitrator had denied natural justice to Tune Group and others.

As a result, the bench saw no justification to set aside the award based on the cited sections of the Arbitration Act 2005.

“The bench also did not find that the arbitrator denied the parties, particularly Tune Group and others, natural justice to justify setting aside the award pursuant to Section 37(1)(b) read together with Section 37(2) of the Arbitration Act 2005,” Lim was quoted as saying in The Edge.

“On the specific facts and circumstances here, we do not therefore find that the arbitrator embarked and decided on a new difference; thereby acted in excess of jurisdiction, contrary to that as alleged by Tune Group and others.”

Additionally, the court ordered Tune Group and the three others to pay a total of RM65,000 in costs to Padda Gurtaj.

Tune Group, along with Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, Datuk Lim Kian Onn, and Christopher Mark Anthony Lankester, had appealed the High Court’s decision made on August 4 of the previous year. The High Court ruling had upheld the arbitrator’s decision.

The dispute originated from a 2019 agreement involving Padda Gurtaj, Tune Group, and the trio associated with Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. This agreement concerned the sale of Tune Talk shares at RM3 each. The agreement stipulated that Padda Gurtaj should provide a cheque within 30 days of signing to finalise the deal. However, complications arose when Celcom expressed disagreement with the RM3 offer and demanded the sellers determine the fair market value of the shares.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Celcom withdrew its request for determining fair market value. Subsequently, Padda Gurtaj sought to enforce the 2019 agreement, but Fernandes’ group argued that the payment had not been made within the stipulated 30-day period, thus invalidating the agreement.

Following initial legal proceedings, the case entered arbitration, which ultimately led to the arbitrator’s decision in March.