Pines members accuse tycoon of giving incomplete account as they sue him over changes to facilities

Mr Peter Kwee took the stand for the first time in the ongoing High Court case on Nov 30, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The 170 members of The Pines club who are suing motoring tycoon Peter Kwee and his company Exklusiv Resorts for relocating and downsizing the club have accused him of submitting incomplete evidence of a dialogue held in 2012.

During the session, they said Mr Kwee gave them the impression the club would remain at its 30 Stevens Road address. But some of The Pines' amenities were later relocated to a shared site in Tanah Merah.

Their accusation was made on Monday (Nov 30) when Mr Kwee took the stand for the first time in the ongoing High Court case, in which the club members are seeking damages of more than $110,000 each.

Exklusiv Resorts is the club's proprietor and Mr Kwee is Exklusiv's director.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Mr Lau Kah Hee from B.C. Lim & Lau, referred to the slides Mr Kwee submitted and claimed to have been presented at the meeting. The pictures shown of the planned redevelopment were captioned "The Pines at 30 Stevens Road".

"If you look through all these slides, there's nothing about a relocation of the club or clubhouse... In fact they show (it at) 30 Stevens Road," said Mr Lau.

He also said his clients told him the slides were not those they were shown at the dialogue and that the minutes of the dialogue submitted as documents for the trial by Mr Kwee were "not complete".

The slides and minutes were not sent to members after the dialogue, Mr Lau added.

Mr Kwee replied that to his knowledge, those were the slides shown at the meeting, and the plans at the time were in the preliminary stage. "We had no intention, at that point in time, to relocate the club," he added.

The members are accusing Mr Kwee of breaching contractual agreements, misleading them into thinking the premises would remain in Stevens Road, and failing to tell them about the proposed redevelopment.

The club was closed for renovation in 2013, and the Stevens Road premises was sold to property developer Oxley Gem. Members accuse Mr Kwee of not informing them about the sale.

Mr Kwee replied that the sale was "public knowledge" as it had been reported in the media. Hence, he did not write to inform members, he added.

High Court Judge Chua Lee Ming asked him if it was his practice not to directly inform club members but instead rely on them to read the newspapers. Mr Kwee admitted it was an "oversight".

On the club's relocation, Mr Lau questioned Mr Kwee why he did not inform members about the "inevitable relocation of the clubhouse" when it became clear in 2015 that it had to be moved. Mr Kwee said at the time he "tried to find a second solution" and did not think of telling members.

Members have been allowed to use the facilities at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club and the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore resort in Tanah Merah.

Mr Kwee's lawyers, Mr Vikram Nair and Mr Foo Xian Fong from Rajah & Tann, had noted earlier in court documents that The Pines had secured the lease of a smaller clubhouse at 30 Stevens Road that is set to open early next year.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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