NGOs want MACC case on Scorpene deal reopened

Cynthia-Gabriel-scorpene-sevan-doraisamy-1PETALING JAYA: Two prominent NGOs today weighed in on the indictment of a pair of former top executives in a long-running probe into alleged kickbacks from the 2002 sale of submarines to Malaysia, calling for the case initiated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2012 to be reopened.

In a statement, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) said Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali should reopen the case and allow the mutual legal assistance requested by France to resolve the matter once and for all.

The NGOs added that Abdul Razak Baginda, who was the chief negotiator in the arms deal, must offer his full cooperation to the French prosecution team and MACC to clarify his role and clear his name.

“It is no longer an option to remain silent and hope the case will go away,” said Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy and C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel.

They were responding to reports that French investigators had indicted Philippe Japiot, former chairman of the French naval dockyards unit DCNI, and Jean-Paul Perrier, former chief executive of the French defence and electronics giant Thales, over the US$1.1 billion sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia 15 years ago.

A report by French news agency AFP said the two were interviewed in May in connection with corruption and commission allegations.

Japiot has additionally been indicted for “abuse of social assets” and Perrier for “complicity in the abuse of social assets”.

The investigation was launched in 2010 in response to a complaint by Suaram.

The complaint centred on allegations that the French submarine maker paid a commission of more than €114 million (RM560 million based on current exchange rate) to a purported shell company linked to Razak, a former close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Sevan and Cynthia said Razak had been identified as the beneficial owner of Terasasi Hong Kong, having joint shareholding in the company with his father.

They added that he had been “instrumental” in getting the Scorpene deal negotiated for the Malaysian government, being the adviser of Najib who was defence minister at the time.

They said Najib should be courageous enough to explain in the coming parliamentary session the various transactions including the alleged kickbacks and the use of shell companies to clear his name of various corruption allegations.

They also called on the Parliament to set up a royal commission of inquiry into the matter.