Ex-AIAC director Sundra Rajoo denies claims in judge’s affidavit

Datuk Sundra Rajoo speaks during the KLRCA International Investment Arbitration Conference in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2016. — Picture by Muzakkir Sazali
Datuk Sundra Rajoo speaks during the KLRCA International Investment Arbitration Conference in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2016. — Picture by Muzakkir Sazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Former Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) director Datuk Sundra Rajoo today denied allegations made in Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer’s affidavit claiming widespread judicial interference.

The Star Online reported that Sundra lodged a report at the Sentul police station this afternoon against the senior judge.

“The report is lodged as the claims made against my client is untrue. Although no names were mentioned, my client is the one implicated in the affidavit,” Sundra’s lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu was quoted saying.

Sundra quit AIAC last November after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested him when an anonymous letter was sent to the anti-graft body and other government officials, accusing him of using public funds to influence ministers to extend his contract as AIAC director.

Sundra, who previously led AIAC for nine years, was released when he invoked diplomatic immunity and has not been charged with a crime.

Hamid Sultan alleged in his affidavit that the award in the case of Asean Bintulu Fertiliser Sdn Bhd v Wekajaya Sdn Bhd & Another Appeal in 2018 written by “the KLRCA (now AIAC) director” in the AIAC director’s capacity as arbitrator had come under scrutiny.

“The complaint there was that he had taken six years to hear an arbitration case and thereafter four years (after submissions by parties) to write the award.

“Indeed I was shocked how a person of his conduct has survived in the industry and was a long-term director of KLRCA (now AIAC) and how did the appointing authority of KLRCA (now AIAC) were not able to trace the shortcoming or arbitration practitioners have not blown the whistle. These by themselves warrant MACC to investigate corrupt practices if any in the institution orchestrated by Malaysians,” wrote the sitting judge.

Hamid Sultan also complained that the Federal Court expunged part of his dissenting judgement in Leap Modulation Sdn Bhd v PCP Construction Sdn Bhd last year upon an intervention filed by AIAC.

“That was done without hearing any right party in opposition and by making an order in the nature of consent judgement in a manner unprecedented in commonwealth jurisdictions. In addition my direction to my registrar to lodge a report to the IGP (inspector-general of police) as well as to MACC was also expunged.

“A fundamental jurisprudence issue related to public law cannot be expunged but can only be overruled by apex court,” he wrote.

AIAC acting director Vinayak Pradhan told news portal Malaysiakini that neither Leap Modulation or PCP Construction had objected to the AIAC’s application to intervene and to expunge parts of Hamid’s judgement.

Vinayak said Hamid’s judgement was shocking and claimed AIAC was not given the right to defend itself.

Hamid reportedly said in his dissenting judgement that AIAC’s “monopoly” on domestic arbitration violated the rule of law. He also questioned the fees collected.

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