Oct 15 hearing for immunity claim by ex-AIAC director

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

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed Oct 15 to hear the claim by a former director of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) that the attorney-general (AG) cannot file criminal charges against him.

Lawyer K Shanmuga, who is appearing for N Sundra Rajoo, said the date was fixed by judge Mariana Yahya who has been assigned to hear the dispute.

“The judge also allowed our application to amend a statement to include additional grounds in support of the judicial review application,” he told reporters after case management in the judge’s chambers.

Federal counsel M Kogilambigai appeared for AG Tommy Thomas.

On May 23, a three-member bench chaired by Abdul Rahman Sebli said an earlier ruling by a judge who dismissed Sundra Rajoo’s leave application for judicial review did not properly address the matter.

“The judge went prematurely into the merits of the judicial review when the matter was only at the leave stage,” said Rahman who is now a Federal Court judge.

The bench also ordered that Sundra Rajoo’s complaint be heard before a new judge.

Judge Nordin Hassan had dismissed Sundra Rajoo’s leave application on March 26, saying the matter was not amenable to judicial review as the AG has unfettered discretion over prosecution matters.

Sundra Rajoo, who was head of the AIAC from 2010 until late last year, had sought 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 Rajoo claimed 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.

On March 26, Sundra Rajoo was also charged in the Kuala Lumpur 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.

The criminal trial has been put on hold pending a decision in the judicial review matter.