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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Malaysian in Paris

Razak Baginda top witness in Scorpene kickback probe...

Human rights NGO Suaram has yesterday successfully argued for its witness statement to be accepted before investigative judge Roger Le Loire in the Paris tribunal Grande Instance.

Suaram filed a case in 2010 against French-owned defence giant DCNS for allegedly paying illegal commissions to top Malaysian officials in the sale of two Scorpeneclass submarines to the Malaysian government in 2002.

Suaram director Kua Kia Soong, secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel and lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri spoke before the judge in a three-hour session in Paris, which ended at 6pm (1am today, Malaysian time).

French litigators William Bourdon and Joseph Breham acted on Suaram's behalf.

When contacted, Gabriel (left) said that the team was successful in its presentation before the judgeLe Loire - one of the two investigative judges in the case - who have accepted their statement on why an inquiry should  be held into the alleged kickbacks.

She added that the judge had accepted Suaram's proposed list of potential witnesses, among them Prime Minister Najib Razak and Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Gabriel said that the hearing was to confirm Suaram's complaint and reaffirmed the need for a judicial investigation into the 
RM7.3 billion deal which was inked when Najib was defence minister.

"We told them we were filing the case because the Malaysian Parliament had failed to provide answers that we sought involving the purchase of the submarines," Gabriel told
NONE"We also mentioned that we were unable to seek answers to the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu and the failure of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate our complaints," she stressed.
According to Breham (right), the probes on the French side so far have provided sufficient evidence to point fingers at specific Malaysian officials' involvement in the commissions - which is illegal under the French law - paid by DCNS to sweeten the Scorpene contract.

"For us to arrive at this stage of the hearing is a gigantic step in the pursuit of the Scorpene's commissions," he said.

Razak Baginda the 'main character'

Altantuya, believed to be a translator involved in the deal, was murdered by military-grade C-4 explosives at a jungle clearing in Shah Alam between Oct 19 and 20, 2006.
razak baginda acquitted 311008 12Two of Najib's former bodyguardsand a political analyst who was a close ally of the premier, Abdul Razak Baginda (left), were charged with her gruesome murder but the latter was acquitted without his defence being called.

Razak's name has, however, cropped up at the French inquiry, and Gabriel named him as "the main character in the 
Perimekar scene".

It had been previously revealed in Parliament that Perimekar received 114 million euro (RM457 million) for "support services" on the sale of the submarines.

Perimekar Sdn Bhd at the time was wholly owned by KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, which in turn was controlled by Razak and his wife, Mazlinda Makhzan.

Perimekar is now owned by the military retirement fund LTAT (Malaysian Armed Forces Fund) and Boustead Holdings.

Pivotal moment in country's history

Meanwhile, Gabriel said the investigation papers on the case have been made available to the Suaram team and "we will reveal the content in stages".

"Our list of possible witnesses are of course Razak and his wife Mazlinda, one Jasbir Singh, Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Altantuya's father Setev Shaariibuu, who recently agreed to be our witness," she said.

Razak Baginda’s wife Mazlinda Makhzan and Lodin Wok Kamarudin, both directors of Perimekar Sdn Bhd, one of the companies named in the deal, and Jasbir Singh, as one of the potential middlemen of the deal. 

NONEAccording to whistleblower website Wikileaks, Lodin heads LTAT and is a close buddy of Najib (left); he also allegedly sits on the board of Affin Bank Bhd, one of Perimekar's bankers.

"It's a pivotal moment to have arrived at this juncture where we can move forward with evidence to uncover the truth in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Malaysia," said Gabriel.

She had also named Najib and Ahmad Zahidi as potential witnesses, and the latter has agreed to testify in court.

Suaram revealed that the other potential witnesses would be private investgator S Balasubramaniam and Altantuya’s father Setev Shariibuu

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