Court says no jurisdiction to hear ex-AIAC director’s judicial review

Former Asian International Arbitration Centre director N Sundra Rajoo. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed a leave application for judicial review by a former director of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) who claimed to enjoy immunity from prosecution.

Judge Nordin Hassan said N Sundra Rajoo’s application was not amenable to judicial review, and that the attorney-general (AG) has unfettered discretion under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution over prosecution matters.

He said Sundra was in fact asking the court to review the ruling of the AG, who is also the public prosecutor.

“Having considered the cause papers and submissions, this court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and cannot stop the AG from prosecuting,” he said.

He also dismissed an application by Sundra’s lawyer, K Shanmuga, to halt any prosecution of his client pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Earlier, federal counsel S Narkunavathy said Sundra should go to the Criminal Court to argue that he enjoys immunity from prosecution.

“This is not the right forum to raise the issue. The applicant has come to the civil court to stop a criminal case,” she said.

Sundra, who was head of the AIAC from 2010 until late last year, filed the judicial review early this month, seeking a declaration that he is entitled to protection for acts and omissions in his official capacity.

He also sought a declaration that the immunity cannot be waived under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1992, and that neither the current acting director nor any officer from the centre can strip him of this protection.

Sundra claims he enjoys immunity as the centre was set up in 1978, following diplomatic correspondence between Malaysia and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation.

He is seeking an order to stop the AG from framing charges against him for any acts or omissions during his term of office.

He also wants an order to stop the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from making any arrest or initiating judicial proceedings for the same, and for the High Court to set aside any order obtained by the four respondents to remove his immunity.

The respondents are the foreign ministry, the AG, MACC and Putrajaya.

Sundra, a FIFA Ethics Committee judge, was held overnight in November after flying in from Zurich, where FIFA has its headquarters.

He was released after a magistrate dismissed an application for a remand order by MACC on grounds that he had diplomatic immunity as head of the AIAC.

The anti-graft agency launched investigations following reports that Sundra allegedly used his position to gain financial favours.