PETALING JAYA: An anti-graft NGO today repeated its call for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate alleged kickbacks in the 2002 sale of submarines to the country.
“MACC must open investigations now, no more ding-dong and excuses.
“We also repeat our call for Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali to cooperate with French prosecutors to resolve the case and bring to book the culprits,” Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel told FMT.
Gabriel was responding to yesterday’s AFP report which quoted a French judicial source as saying that Abdul Razak Baginda was charged in France on July 18 with “active and passive complicity in corruption” and “misappropriation of corporate assets”.
Previously, four French defence industry executives had already been charged since the investigation began. All four men deny the charges.
Meanwhile, Gabriel said that Prime Minister Najib Razak must “answer for this” as he was the defence minister at the time. Najib was defence minister between 2000 and 2008.
Najib oversaw the deal worth nearly €1 billion (RM5 billion) to buy two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta-class submarine from French naval dockyards unit DCN, which is linked to French defence group Thales.
Gabriel also congratulated the French Magistrate for their perseverance especially since she, as the primary whistleblower while she was Suaram director, was harassed, intimidated and the “target of personal threats” when the controversy first came to light.
“It’s a vindication for Malaysian civil society, in particular, C4 and Suaram who have persevered in their mission to bring the corrupt to account,” she said.
According to the AFP report, French authorities launched their investigation 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, who was adviser to Najib at the time of the deal.
Razak has since denied that he has been charged in a French court clarifying that the use of the term in French media had been misleading.
Referring to the AFP report, Razak said the term “charged” used over the ongoing French inquiry into alleged corruption in the purchase of the Scorpene submarines in 2002, was not the same as it was in Malaysia.
“The French legal process is different from the Malaysian legal process.
“The term ‘charged’ in the context of the inquiry means placing the said individuals under ‘formal investigation’.
“In the Malaysian legal process, a person suspected of a crime is investigated and if there is sufficient evidence, the person is charged in a court of law,” he said in a statement released last night.