Cousin of Mustafa Centre boss seeks one-third stake in business, says his father cried 'like a baby' after making will

Mr Fayyaz Ahmad and his brother Ansar are claiming a one-third share of the entire Mustafa business empire as well as assets owned by Mustafa Centre boss Mustaq Ahmad in Singapore and overseas. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A cousin of Mustafa Centre boss Mustaq Ahmad told the High Court on Wednesday (Oct 21) that his father came home crying "like a baby" one day in 2004, after making a will stating that he held a 15.12 per cent stake in the company.

Mr Fayyaz Ahmad said that his father, Mr Samsuddin Mokhtar Ahmad, felt hurt and cheated by Mr Mustaq, whom he treated as a son.

Mr Mustaq's lawyer, Senior Counsel Alvin Yeo, accused Mr Fayyaz of making up the story because the contents of his father's will would hurt his case.

Mr Fayyaz and his brother Ansar are claiming a one-third share of the entire Mustafa business empire as well as assets owned by Mr Mustaq in Singapore, India, and various other countries.

The case is being heard together with a suit brought against Mr Mustaq and his family by his five step-siblings and their mother.

Mr Yeo contended that Mr Samsuddin could simply have revoked the will, but did not do so because he believed he was only entitled to a 15.12 per cent stake.

Mr Samsuddin was a cousin of Mr Mustaq's mother Momina. In the 1950s, he went into business with Mr Mustaq's father, Haji Mohamed Mustafa.

The two men registered a partnership in 1973 and Mr Mustaq was added as a partner a few months later.

In 1989, Mr Samsuddin and Mr Mustaq registered a company, Mohamed Mustafa & Samsuddin Co, as shareholders and directors.

Mr Mustafa and Mr Mustaq's wife Ishret were later added as shareholders and directors.

Between 1989 and 2001, Mr Mustaq's stake went from the initial 51 per cent to 61.25 per cent while Mr Samsuddin's went from 30 per cent to 15.12 per cent through a series of share allotments and increases in share capital.

Mr Fayyaz and his brother have accused Mr Mustaq and the other defendants of diluting their father's interests through "wrongful" share allotments.

They also allege that Mr Mustaq and the defendants misappropriated company funds and paid themselves excessive directors' fees while causing the company to pay no dividends between 2001 and 2014.

Mr Mustaq contends that he was sole owner of the business and the "patriarch" who provided for Mr Mustafa, Mr Samsuddin and their families.

On Wednesday, Mr Fayyaz said that after he questioned Mr Mustaq about his father's will, Mr Mustaq assured him that his father would get a one-third share.

Mustafa Centre founder Mustaq Ahmad stepping out of the Supreme Court on Oct 13, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Fayyaz said he told this to Mr Samsuddin, who took Mr Mustaq at his word.

Mr Yeo pointed out that after Mr Samsuddin's death in April 2011, Mr Fayyaz had signed affidavits confirming that the 15.12 per cent stake in the company was his only asset in Singapore.

Mr Fayyaz said Mr Mustaq had assured him that "everyone will get an equal share" but went back on his word after the documents were signed.

Mr Yeo said: "I suggest that it is you who had gone back on your word... You had gotten greedy and would like to claim more than what the Samsuddin estate is entitled to."

Mr Fayyaz disagreed.

The trial continues.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.