Suaram: Time for inquiry into Scorpene scandal and murder of Altantuya

Kua-Kia-SoongKUALA LUMPUR: With the indictment of Abdul Razak Baginda over graft allegations by a French court, Suaram wants a full public inquiry into the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu and the motive for her murder.

It also wants the inquiry to cover the allegations of commissions paid for the purchase of Scorpene submarines by Malaysia from the French.

Razak Baginda was an aide of then defence minister and current Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong said in a statement today: “The prosecution of the (murder) case has been tardy from the start, with the failure to establish the motive for Altantuya’s murder being the most questionable of all.

“Through the case, the laboured attempts by both prosecution and defence to obstruct the probe into any involvement of then defence minister (Najib Razak) were also most bewildering.”

Kua said now that Razak Baginda had been indicted by a French court for alleged corruption, it was time to have an inquiry to get to the truth of the matter.

Although Razak Baginda had not been charged in the French court, Kua said he had been indicted on July 18 “for complicity of bribery (‘corruption active’) and acceptance of bribes (‘corruption passive’) and ‘concealment of misuse of company assets’.”

If the examining judge decides there is a valid case against a suspect, the accused is sent for adversarial trial by jury.

Kua said: “What the indictment means is that there is enough strong evidence for the judge to think that he is party to the crimes noted in the above charges.

“The indictment is a measure severe enough to justify an international arrest warrant. In this case, if Razak Baginda is in Malaysia, he probably won’t be extradited. But if he’s in Great Britain, then there is an agreement and Great Britain could/should extradite Razak Baginda.”

The Scorpene submarines scandal involving suspected commissions paid to Malaysian officials in the French submarines sale in 2002 has already led to an indictment against Bernard Baiocco, the former president of Thales International Asia (Thint Asia), an international subsidiary of Thales.

Suaram’s complaint to the French authorities in November 2009 had started a preliminary inquiry and a judicial investigation opened in Paris in 2012.

Kua said: “After six long years of investigations, this first indictment of the arms maker shows that Suaram’s suspicion of commissions paid to Malaysian officials in the Scorpene deal is well founded and we have been vindicated.

“The sale of two Scorpene submarines and a sub Marino Agosta to Malaysia was the most expensive military procurement by Malaysia to date, costing nearly RM5 billion for the hardware plus more than RM2 billion for the training of operatives and maintenance of the submarines.”

He claimed that French judicial investigations also showed that another company, Terasasi, whose main shareholder was Razak Baginda, was paid tens of millions of Euro for consultations, apart from Euro 114 million that was paid to Perimekar, the main contractor of the Scorpene deal.

“All this time, the Malaysian government has not told parliament or the public about the existence of Terasasi (Abdul Razak Baginda’s other company) and that it had a share of the spoils from the purchase of the submarines.

“The government has only tried to justify the payments to Perimekar. The existence of Terasasi and payments it received only emerged when the French prosecutors’ documents came to light. It is time the Malaysian government reveals the role that Terasasi played in the Scorpene deal.”