KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 31): Former director of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) Datuk N Sundra Rajoo (pictured) has the privilege of immunity against prosecution from acts committed while he held his position in office, the High Court ruled here today.
Justoce Datuk Seri Mariana Yahaya ruled that because he enjoys immunity, the three criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges involving the centre's fund amounting to RM1.01 million levelled against him have also been quashed by the court.
The former director is charged with CBT of RM89,700, RM621,172.50 and RM300,495 of the funds belonging to the centre at Bangunan Sulaiman, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin here between Dec 8, 2016 and Aug 17, 2018.
"The applicant is immune from suits and other proceedings, (therefore) the charges are void and unlawful," she said.
He had earlier in the year, failed in his judicial review application at the High Court here when Justice Datuk Nordin Hassan ruled that the court has no jurisdiction to question the Attorney General's unfettered discretion under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution to charge an individual, despite the person claiming immunity.
However, Justice Mariana had allowed Sundra's judicial review application.
Justice Mariana said Sundra's privilege of immunity cannot be arbitrarily waived as this is against the 2013 Host Country Agreement signed between Putrajaya and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO), the parent body of AIAC.
She added that any waiver of immunity can only be done by AALCO as per the regulations of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Arbitration Centre (Privilege and Immunity).
Wisma Putra had written to AALCO to waive his immunity, but it was rejected by the Secretary-General.
She also said the Attorney-General's power under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution is subject to judicial review.
It states that the Attorney General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.
Sundra was represented by K. Shanmuga, Datuk Baljit Singh and Abd Shukor Ahmad.
Shanmuga told the media that Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi would be informed of today's ruling during case mention on Jan 21.