Ex-arbitration centre director files appeal over failure to get leave for judicial review

N Sundra Rajoo. (Sundrarajoo.com pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former director of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) N Sundra Rajoo, who is facing three counts of misappropriating RM1 million, has filed an appeal to get a ruling that he enjoys immunity from prosecution.

His lawyer, Abdul Shukor Ahmad, said a notice of appeal was filed in the Court of Appeal last week.

Shukor said they had also filed a stay of proceeding against Sundra’s trial pending the disposal of the appeal for the judicial review application.

“We have also written to Court of Appeal president Ahmad Maarop to give us an early appeal hearing date,” he told FMT.

On March 26, High Court judge Nordin Hassan ruled he had no jurisdiction to hear Sundra’s leave for the judicial review application as the attorney-general (AG) has unfettered discretion under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution over prosecution matters.

He said in fact Sundra’s application was intended to ask the court to review the ruling of the AG, who is also the public prosecutor.

Sundra, who was head of the AIAC from 2010 until late last year, filed the judicial review early last 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.

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 (AALCO).

On March 26, Sundra Rajoo was also charged in the Sessions Court with three counts of criminal breach of trust amounting to RM1 million.

The offences were allegedly committed at the AIAC premises on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin here between Aug 17 and Dec 8 last year.

Meanwhile, AALCO secretary-general Professor Kennedy Gastorn has written to AG Tommy Thomas to protest the prosecution of Sundra over the three criminal charges.

In the letter, Gastorn said he finds the purported waiver of the immunity by Vinayak Pradhan, the current acting director of the AIAC, against Sudra “as void, groundless and illegal”, pursuant to the host country agreement.