Mustafa boss 'paid for stepbrother's monthly expenses', court told

Mustafa Centre boss Mustaq Ahmad (left) paid for household expenses of his stepbrother Ayaz Ahmed and his family, said Mr Mustaq's lawyer on Oct 19, 2020.
Mustafa Centre boss Mustaq Ahmad (left) paid for household expenses of his stepbrother Ayaz Ahmed and his family, said Mr Mustaq's lawyer on Oct 19, 2020.PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mustafa Centre boss Mustaq Ahmad personally paid for the household expenses of his stepbrother's family, down to reimbursement claims for Old Chang Kee curry puffs and a $3.90 meal of naan and roti, the High Court heard on Monday (Oct 19).

Mr Mustaq's lawyer, Senior Counsel Alvin Yeo, also noted that his client had remitted 500,000 rupees to his stepmother in India in 2011 and was more generous than his stepbrother Ayaz Ahmed had claimed.

The contentions came as Mr Yeo produced notebooks with handwritten logs and other financial records in cross-examining Mr Ayaz for the fifth day.

Mr Ayaz, his four siblings and their mother are suing Mr Mustaq, his wife and their two children over their shareholdings in Mohamed Mustafa & Samsuddin Co, the company behind the popular department store.

The plaintiffs accuse Mr Mustaq and the defendants of various wrongdoings that diluted the Mustafa estate's stake in the company, among other things.

Mr Mustaq said the plaintiffs were using the lawsuit to pressure him into giving the Mustafa estate more shares, and that he had provided for the plaintiffs over the years.

On Monday, Mr Yeo gave examples to show that Mr Mustaq paid for Mr Ayaz's groceries, meals and utilities, apart from providing him with free housing.

Records for April 2015 state that Mr Mustaq paid about $39,719 in expenses for his extended family, including $7,264.26 attributed to Mr Ayaz.

Mr Ayaz said he did not have any idea of the expenses. He estimated that his expenses came up to more than $5,000 a month because he bought groceries for the extended family members who lived in the same apartment.

He did not agree that Mr Mustaq was personally bearing his household's expenses, which Mr Yeo said went as high as $12,874.60 a month.

"I do not agree because I have a reason," he said. When pressed for the reason, he replied: "We used to get a salary and run our own household."

Mr Yeo also sought to rebut Mr Ayaz's testimony that after his father's death in 2011, Mr Mustaq sent only $10,000 a year to his mother in India.

Mr Yeo noted that in August 2011, Mr Mustaq remitted 850,000 Indian rupees (S$15,730) to Mr Ayaz's family members in India, with 500,000 rupees (S$9,250) marked for Mr Ayaz's mother.

Mr Ayaz said the money did not go to his mother but was used to fulfil the family's zakat obligations and was donated to charity.

The trial continues.