Firm in rent spat also facing suit over car leases

Firm in rent spat also facing suit over car leases

A medical supplies company that was recently in the news over unpaid rent for an upscale bungalow is facing another lawsuit for allegedly reneging on the leases of two Mercedes-Benz limousines.

Singapore-based Aluminaid is accused of breaking the cars' two-year leases just months after signing the contract with motor firm Privilege Leasing.

According to court documents obtained by The Straits Times, Aluminaid signed the leases last July but returned the two Mercedes S-class vehicles in November and December respectively.

In a counterclaim filed in court, the medical supplies firm alleged the cars were not of the right colour, not of the right age and were not fitted with navigation as promised. It also complained that one had a strong odour, and one had technical glitches.

Privilege Leasing, represented by lawyer Vijai Parwani, said the colours, features and age of the cars were as specified or agreed upon by Aluminaid. It found no strong smell in the car which Aluminaid had complained about, but offered to send it for grooming anyway.

Aluminaid, represented by Mr Nigel Pereira of Rajah & Tann, apparently turned down the offer, saying it would get an independent assessment on its own. Privilege Leasing did not get the report, according to court documents.

Privilege Leasing also said it had sent the purportedly faulty car to authorised Mercedes dealer Cycle & Carriage to be serviced.

The two cars have since been returned to Privilege, which is suing for lost earnings and costs.

Said its manager Samantha Chia: "We are new in the leasing business, and these were our first two leased cars."

One of the cars is said to have been used by Aluminaid chief executive Joseph Marten.

Mr Marten told The Straits Times: "We have every confidence in the Singapore legal system, and that the court will rule in our favour."

The CEO lives in a bungalow that is the subject of a separate legal dispute.

Owner Wee Ee Chao, son of banking tycoon Wee Cho Yaw, is suing Aluminaid for allegedly failing to pay rent amounting to $646,000 on the Chatsworth Road property.

Aluminaid countersued, saying the 26,000 sq ft house was in a dilapidated state and infected with mould making it unsafe, reported Bloomberg, quoting court documents.

Mr Marten, who is still residing there, told The Straits Times that his company had not missed any rental payment.

christan@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.

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