Kuala Lumpur High Court compels Public Bank for full disclosure of investigation papers that led to banking leak

Lawyers acting for National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd, its group of companies and its chairman (plaintiffs) today successfully obtained the full investigation papers of Public Bank Berhad in connection with the confidential banking leaks in February 2012.

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Twenty-five bank accounts and eight collateral accounts of the plaintiffs had been leaked and disclosed by a bank employee. The information ended up in the hands of the opposition.

As at the last case management on 9 June, twenty pages had been removed and excluded from a 45-page transcript of a domestic inquiry investigating how confidential banking information of customers were leaked by its employee. The plaintiffs believe there was likely vital information in the missing 20 pages, almost half the investigation report.

Today, in addition to the missing 20 pages, the information on the identity of Public Bank’s investigating officer and three-member panel were disclosed. Written notes of an  audit investigation were also tendered.

The court had on 13 April this year allowed for the discovery order to compel Public Bank to disclose all domestic investigation papers arising from the disclosure of confidential banking information of National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd and its group of companies including the personal bank accounts of all its directors and chairman.

On 22 May 2012, the plaintiffs had filed a suit against Public Bank Berhad. The plaintiffs stated that their business, reputation and credibility had suffered irreparable loss and damage as a result of the bank’s security breach in exposing the confidential banking information of its bank accounts at Public Bank Berhad.

The discovery was sought as the documents were relevant to the action and were and have been in the possession, custody or power of Public Bank Berhad.

Judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara had granted the order in chambers after hearing the application in open court. The order was given under Order 24 Rule 12 of the Rules of Court 2012.

Public Bank was initially given 21 days to fulfill the discovery order but failed to fully comply satisfactorily.

National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp), National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, Real Food Company Sdn Bhd and NFCorp chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail had sought for all documents and transcripts of the domestic enquiry held in respect to one of Public Bank Berhad’s employees Johari Mohamad.

Johari had also been charged separately under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act, 1989 (BAFIA) for the offence.

Datuk Salleh and the NFCorp group were represented by counsels Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Datuk M David Morais, Al Firdaus Shahrul Naing, Sara Ann Chay Sue May and Syed Ismat Syed Muhamad.