THE Strata Titles Board (STB) hearing the Horizon Towers sale application said yesterday that it was under no obligation to deliver its ruling before Dec 11.
That is the deadline for the estate’s $500 million collective sale to Hotel Properties (HPL) and its partners.
The majority owners want approval for the sale, after it was thrown out on a technicality in August. The minority owners want it stopped.
The STB came to its decision after it took submissions from lawyers for both the majority and minority owners. The owners were asked if they considered that the STB had a legal duty to rule before Dec 11.
Both camps, after morning deliberations, said no.
But that did not sit well with the buyers. HPL group executive director Christopher Lim said it was ’surprising’ the tribunal took that view as it may ‘potentially scuttle’ the transaction.
‘We are also very disappointed that the majority sellers did not take the position that the matter be dealt with expeditiously and before Dec 11.’
Mr Lim said the buyers had made it clear during earlier hearings that the majority sellers would be in breach of contract if they did not deal with the sale expeditiously.
‘As a result of these developments, we are currently reviewing our position.’
The STB did try to move the proceedings along yesterday, by rejecting a request by lawyers representing the minorities that they be allowed to cross-examine expert witnesses such as valuers. It also rejected an application from the lawyers that Mr Arjun Samtani, chairman of the first sale committee, take the stand as a witness.
The hearing continued with the cross-examination of Mr Wee Hian Siew, the former sale committee secretary, that began on Tuesday.
He was again asked why he did not notify owners of the $500 million offer and if he recalled the talks with Mr Bharat Mandloi.
The latter resigned from the first sale committee because he regarded the $500 million sale price as too low.
Mr Mandloi had told the committee that the owners might as well sell their units in the Leonie Hill estate on the open market at the same price.
Source : Straits Times - 8 Nov 2007