Singapore Polo Club legal spat resolved

The Singapore Polo Club at Mount Pleasant Road.
The Singapore Polo Club at Mount Pleasant Road.PHOTO: ST FILE

Case against ex-president, two members for polo captain's 'wrongful suspension' settled

A legal spat involving some former committee members of the Singapore Polo Club and its polo captain has been resolved.

Dr Ali Namazie had sued then club president Iqbal Jumabhoy and two members, Mr Kevin Wilkinson and Mr Ian Lander, as well as the club in 2013. Dr Namazie alleged that he was wrongfully suspended and stripped of his post as polo captain five months after he was elected and barred from playing in tournaments on club grounds. He had sought to have an 18-month membership suspension quashed.

Mr Jumabhoy said the case against him was withdrawn.

Dr Namazie had alleged that the defendants' decision, which involved control over a proposed veterinarian centre at the National Equestrian Park (NEP), was "manifestly unfair and unprecedented".

The NEP was developed in collaboration with the polo club, the Equestrian Federation of Singapore and the Singapore Sports Council as a venue for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

It was built in three phases. Phases one and two opened in 2010 and 2012. Phase three comprised the veterinarian centre, a quarantine facility and a visitors' centre.

Dr Namazie said he was accused by the committee of acting in a manner prejudicial to the club when he authorised a $70,000 payment to the project's contractor when there was no concluded contract for phase three.

His ouster as polo captain was also questioned by club honorary secretary Lawrence Khong, who said there was no provision in the club's constitution for its action.

The High Court in 2014 dismissed an application by Mr Jumabhoy, Mr Wilkinson and Mr Lander to strike out Dr Namazie's claims. The court allowed Dr Namazie to pursue his claim for damages and costs against them.

Mr Lander subsequently filed counterclaims against Dr Namazie and Mr Khong in 2015 alleging defamation, but filed a notice of discontinuance after settling with both men last year.

Settlement papers seen by The Straits Times show that Mr Khong acknowledged that Mr Lander "had at no time borne a grudge or held any personal grievance against Dr Namazie".

Both Mr Khong and Dr Namazie said Mr Lander had "acted without any self-interest or pecuniary interest, without any impropriety and in the best interest of the club during his tenure."

Dr Namazie's suspension as a member was lifted in June 2014 and he was later re-elected as polo captain.

His lawyer, Mr Daniel Koh, said yesterday: "Our client is glad to put this episode behind him and sincerely wishes all parties involved would be able to do so as well."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore Polo Club legal spat resolved'. Print Edition | Subscribe