Court bins CBT charges against ex-AIAC director Sundra Rajoo

Former Asian International Centre for Arbitration’s (AIAC) director Datuk Sundra Rajoo Nadarajah (centre) leaves the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Former Asian International Centre for Arbitration’s (AIAC) director Datuk Sundra Rajoo Nadarajah (centre) leaves the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — The Sessions Court here today struck out three criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges amounting to more than RM1 million against former Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) director Datuk Dr N. Sundra Rajoo 

In dismissing the charges, Judge Azura Alwi said she was bound by a High Court decision on Dec 31 last year which ruled that Sundra Rajoo enjoys immunity as a former high-ranking officer of AIAC from prosecution for acts committed while in office.

“The case is struck out and the bail money of RM100,000 is to be refunded and his (Sundra Rajoo) passport to be returned,” the judge said.

The court also rejected the prosecution’s application for a another date to be set for case management pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court's decision.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Zaki Mohd Salleh had earlier asked the court to fix another date for case management on the grounds that the High Court's decision was wrong and invalid.

“An appeal against the decision of the High Court was filed by the government earlier in the Court of Appeal,” said Mohd Zaki.

Lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, representing Sundra Rajoo, said if the High Court's decision was not followed, it would constitute contempt of court.

On Dec 31 last year, High Court Judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya in her judgment said the prosecutor's decision to charge Sundra Rajoo was subject to judicial review.

“The criminal proceedings against the applicant (Sundra Rajoo) by the respondent (prosecutor) s contrary to the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1992 and therefore it is invalid and should be dismissed.

“The applicant is protected by law and has immunity from being sued and from other legal processes under Part II of the Second Schedule of the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1992 (Act 485). Other legal processes include civil and criminal proceedings,” Mariana said.

The High Court made the decision after allowing the application for judicial review filed by Sundra Rajoo seeking a declaration that he has immunity as a former high-ranking officer of AIAC from prosecution for any acts performed in his official capacity.

On March 26, last year, Sundra Rajoo, 64, pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here to three counts of CBT involving over RM1 million of AIAC funds, allegedly committed between Dec 8, 2016 and Aug 17, 2018. — Bernama

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