SINGAPORE (Sept 17): The cover of Stamford Land Corp’s latest annual report is emblazoned with the phrase “Striking the right chord”. But this past week, the company hit all the wrong notes in dealing with a difficult and outspoken shareholder. On Sept 7, Stamford Land and five of its directors filed a writ of summons in the High Court against Mano Sabnani for making allegedly defamatory remarks, to the effect that they had “breached their fiduciary duties to Stamford Land and [are] guilty of offences under the Companies Act”.

A familiar face at annual general meetings of many SGX companies, Sabnani is also well-known to the media, having held the posts of editor-in-chief at The Business Times as well as Today. Stamford Land said in a Sept 9 filing that Sabnani had published defamatory statements in a July 27 Facebook post and a July 31 letter to the BT, and uttered defamatory statements at two AGMs, in 2016 and 2018.

It is unclear precisely what Sabnani said that Stamford Land is alleging to be defamatory. However, in his letter to the BT, Sabnani claimed he had been vilified and bullied at the company’s AGM. He also criticised the company’s “high-handed” conduct, alleging among other things that shareholders were limited to asking one question each. He also claimed that the company refused to provide its shareholders with drinking water: “I was told there was water in the toilet and I could quench my thirst there.”

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