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SINGAPORE (Sept 10): Stamford Land Corporation is suing shareholder Manohar P. Sabnani for a series of statements made by Sabnani which the group claims to be defamatory, the latest being a letter published by the Business Times on July 31 this year.
In a Sunday filing last night, Stamford says the group and its directors – Ow Chio Kiat, Ow Cheo Guan, Ow Yew Heng, Danny Lim and Mark Anthony James Vaile – are claiming damages from statements which Sabnani made personally during the group’s 2016 and 2018 annual general meetings (AGMs).
On other media platforms, the group and its directors are taking issue with a particular statement which Sabnani wrote in a Facebook post on July 27 and his letter to BT, specifically:
“I was told there was water in the toilet at Stamford and I could quench my thirst there.”
Such was Sabnani’s claim about Stamford’s latest 2018 AGM held on July 27, although Stamford emphasises in the filing that this was not true.
While the Facebook post has since been deleted, the above statement can still be found in the letter from Sabnani to BT, in which he also claimed he was “vilified, bullied, and made to feel totally unwelcome as a minority shareholder” of the group.
In particular, Sabnani complained of a lack of drinking water for minority shareholders although board members were allegedly seen “sipping water from their bottles from high up on the stage”.
Sabnani also questioned the company needed "three CEOs" who together received more than $6.5 million from the company for the last financial year.
He also took issue with the group’s proposed one-cent dividend, which he felt was low compared to its asset-rich position. Additionally, Sabnani's complained about Stamford’s poor share performance over the past three years despite what he deemed a poor dividend policy.
Stamford Land says Sabnani’s statements were made to disparage both the company and directors in their professional standing and business, and therefore injures its reputation.
The group adds that it will continue to keep its shareholders updated on this matter.
Stamford Land's announcement of its legal proceedings comes after the group filed its 2018 AGM minutes last week on Sept 3, where it also mentioned that its latest AGM did not provide refreshments due to misconduct among attendees, especially at the buffet lines, at previous AGMS held at hotels such as Fullerton and Amara.
Separately, the saga was picked up by Shenton Wire where the site said it sought comment form Sabnani via Facebook and LinkedIn, with Sabnani's profile on the latter platform appearing to be disabled.
Sabnani, an outspoken and avid investor seen at the AGMs of many publicly-listed companies, was former editor-in-chief at BT from 1986 to 1993 and Today from 2003 to 2006. He was also a managing director at DBS from 1996 to 2001.
Shares in Stamford Land closed 1% lower at 48 cents on Friday.