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PUTRAJAYA, May 23 — Former director of Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC), Datuk Sundra Rajoo Nadarajah can argue whether or not he is entitled to immunity from any charges during his official capacity at the High Court.
This was after he was granted leave by the Court of Appeal here today to commence a judicial review proceeding to challenge his entitlement for immunity from any charges.
In allowing Sundra Rajoo’s appeal, Justice Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli who chaired a three-man bench said the panel was of the unanimous view that this was a suitable case for the appellate court review.
“We agree with the appellant’s (Sundra Rajoo) submissions that the learned judge has fallen into error in prematurely going into the merit of the case,” said Justice Abdul Rahman who was presiding over the appeal with Justices Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim and Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said.
He said the questions raised in the judicial review application required mature consideration and deliberation at a substantive hearing of judicial review proceedings.
“In the circumstances, the appeal is allowed. The High Court decision is set aside. Leave is granted,” said Justice Abdul Rahman and ordered the case to be mentioned before another High Court judge on May 29.
Sundra Rajoo, who was present in court, is appealing against the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision on March 26 this year, which dismissed his leave for judicial review over his entitlement for immunity from any charges.
In the application, he named the Foreign Ministry, Attorney-General (AG), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Government of Malaysia as respondents.
Earlier, counsel K. Shanmuga who represented Sundra Rajoo submitted that the appellate court should have allowed the appeal for his client to argue on merit of the case at the High Court.
“This is the perfect case to argue. It is a proper and fit case that should be for a full hearing,” he said adding that the High Court Judge had erred when dismissing his client’s leave application.
Senior federal counsel S. Narkunavathy who acted for the respondents replied that the case was not an arguable case that needs a full hearing.
Furthermore, she said no one was stopping the appellant from raising the matter as he could bring the issue to the criminal court where he was charged.
On March 4 this year, Sundra Rajoo, 63, who was the head of AIAC from 2010 until late last year, filed a leave for judicial review proceeding at the High Court Registrar's Office, seeking a declaration that he has an immunity as a former high-ranking officer of AIAC for acts done within his official capacity.
He is also seeking an order of prohibition preventing AG from laying any charge or bringing any proceedings in any court in Malaysia against him with regard to anything done by him in his capacity as director of AIAC, and more specifically with regard to any acts or omission by him during his term of office as director of the centre in relation to the property, funds or documents of the centre or otherwise howsoever in relation to the affairs of the centre.
He also sought an order of prohibition preventing the MACC from arresting, detaining, issuing any warrant or other or otherwise bringing any judicial proceedings whatsoever against him with regard to anything done by him in his capacity as director of AIAC, and more specifically with regard to any acts or omission by him during his term of office as director of the centre in relation to the property, funds or documents of the centre or otherwise howsoever in relation to the affairs of the centre.
On March 26, this year, Sundra Rajoo pleaded not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on three charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) with AIAC funds amounting to more than RM1 million, three years ago. — Bernama