MACC wants clarification from French embassy over Razak’s ‘charge’

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad says the agency will be meeting with officials at the French embassy to clarify the charge against Abdul Razak Baginda in France as reported earlier this week.

Speaking on TV3’s Soal Jawab programme last night, Dzulkifli said he is aware of the difference between the legal systems in France and Malaysia.

“I must clarify first that there is a difference between the legal systems practised in both countries.

“That is why I have asked my officers to get the right information from the embassy in order to determine if the ‘charge’ relates to the inquiry or is it at a prosecution stage,” he said.

On Tuesday, Agence-France Presse (AFP), a global newswire agency, quoted a French judicial source as saying that Razak was charged in France on July 18 with “active and passive complicity in corruption” and “misappropriation of corporate assets” linked to the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene submarine deal in 2002.

This was followed with a denial from Razak who said that 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,” Razak said in a statement.

Dzulkifli said that should the case be in the prosecution stage, then the relevant actions should have taken place.

“In any prosecution over a crime, the person implicated had to have been first arrested, then brought to court and charged. In this case, that did not appear to have happened,” he said.

One of the key differences in the French legal system when compared with Malaysia, is that it is two-tiered, where a judge can conduct investigations.

After such investigations are completed, should there be sufficient evidence, the case then goes to trial but under a different judge.

Dzulkifli told Soal Jawab viewers that MACC would pursue the case if there was any legitimate information made available to them.

“We may even send our officers to France to look into the matter, if we have to,” he said.

Malaysia purchased Scorpene submarines worth nearly €1 billion (RM5 billion) from French naval dockyards unit DCN, which is linked to French defence group Thales.

French authorities opened an investigation into the deal in 2010 in response to a complaint from Malaysian rights group Suaram.

According to AFP, the investigation revealed that another company, Terasasi, whose main shareholder was Razak, received €30 million for what was billed as consultancy work, but which investigators believe was really a front for kickbacks.

Razak Baginda denies French ‘charge’ over Scorpene subs

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