Appeals court allows MIA’s appeal to reinstate Tony Pua’s complaint against 1MDB auditor

PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and its disciplinary committee (DC) succeeded in their appeals to reinstate a complaint lodged by former Damansara Member of Parliament Tony Pua against Deloitte PLT partner Ng Yee Hong over the audit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial statements.

This follows a decision by the Court of Appeal three-member panel of judges, comprising Justices Datuk Azizah Nawawi, Datuk See Mee Chun and Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today, to allow the appeal by MIA and its DC to overturn a High Court decision that allowed Ng’s judicial review to strike out Pua’s complaint.

In the court’s broad grounds, Justice Azizah said the court found the High Court judge committed an appealable error that warranted the appellate court’s intervention.

She said the charges proffered against Ng on Pua’s complaint are not identical to the charges over a complaint lodged earlier by one Andrew Anand Solomon Devasahayam.

She said the charges for Pua’s complaint and Devasahayam’s complaint were proffered against Ng at the same time and would have been heard together if Ng did not object to the consolidation.

Justice Azizah said Ng had requested the hearing of the disciplinary proceedings for Pua’s complaint to be deferred after the hearing on Devasahayam’s complaint and therefore there was no issue with the DC raising an identical complaint.

She ordered Ng to pay costs of RM20,000 each to the DC and MIA. The court’s decision was delivered online.

Two separate complaints were lodged by Devasahayam and Pua, on March 31, 2015 and May 26, 2015, respectively, about the professional conduct of Ng as an auditor of 1MDB for the financial years ending 2013 and 2014.

The DC found Ng guilty on Devasahayam’s complaint in 2020. He was suspended for two years and fined RM5,000.

On appeal, the findings of the DC were affirmed by the Disciplinary Appeal Board (DAB) of MIA. Aggrieved by DAB’s decision, Ng filed a judicial review application which was subsequently dismissed by the High Court on Dec 9, 2021.

On Pua’s complaint, Ng took the position that the complaints by Devasahayam and Pua were the same and on Sept 10, 2019, he wrote to the DC to dismiss Pua’s complaint.

However, the DC, through a letter dated Sept 23, the same year, rejected Ng’s application to discontinue the disciplinary proceedings concerning Pua’s complaint, prompting him (Ng) to file a judicial review to quash the DC’s decision.

On May 11, 2022, the High Court allowed Ng’s application to quash the DC’s decision. The DC and MIA then appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal. – BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE