Altantuya's dad is sure: She came to see Najib, she had "something to decide" with him
UPDATED The father of murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu has confirmed that his daughter's killing was linked to the Malaysian government's purchase of 2 Scorpene submarines, a procurement spearheaded by Prime Minister Najib Razak who was then the defense chief.
So eager is Setev Shaariibuu to get justice for his daughter, whose remains have been withheld by the Malaysian government preventing final rites to held for her in her homeland, he has offered to be a witness in the French probe on whether DC had corruptly paid Najib a kickback of some M570million for sealing the purchase.
“He knows that there is a connection with the French case and the murder case, and would like to help connect the dots. If he testifies in court, he says he will give detailed information,” translated Mongolian interpreter Tsoggerel Och on Shaariibuu's behalf.
Elusive photograph exists: Altantuya came to Malaysia to see Najib
Setev also told the press conference that he had seen "with his own eyes" a photo his daughter had taken with Najib and his close friend Razak Baginda, who was also a negotiator in the Scorpenes deal.
According to Setev, before his daughter left for Malaysia in October 2006, she told him she would be meeting Najib and Baginda to get payment promised her for translating work done for "certain companies".
"I asked her what was her purpose of traveling to Malaysia. She showed me a picture taken in Paris. Three people were in it — Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib, and Altantuya. She said ‘I have to meet important people’, and pointed to Najib," said Setev.
“She told me she had something to decide with Najib. I told her it was not worth it but she went anyway. A lot of witnesses have seen this picture I was not the only one who saw it So did Burmaa Oyunchimeg, who was a witness and told the court about the matter during the murder trial in 2007."
Altantuya spoke of a commission
Setev, a retired university professor, is in Kuala Lumpur for 3 days to seek a meeting with the Malaysian authorities to hasten his daughter's case.
He then dropped another bombshell. Although Altantuya could not recall the names of the companies involved, she told him that Baginda promised her a commission of between "0.0003 percent and 3 percent " for each of her projects.
Setev said he wasn't sure if the commission was in US dollars or in Euros, but it was "a huge" amount.
"Later, I heard that the payment was in US dollars. I have told this to lawyer Karpal Singh and we worked out the amount to be about RM100 million," said Setev.
Thunderbolt from dad
While still a thunderbolt, not all that Altantuya's dad said this morning is new to Malaysians who know of the connection not only because of the parties involved, but also through the testimony from a private investigator P Balasubramaniam and the murder trial itself.
Bala was forced to flee the country after making a famous statutory declaration exposing the link between Najib, Baginda and Altantuya.
"I have never doubted the existence of the photo and am glad that Altantuya's father has backed up Burmaa's words," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
During the early days of the scandal, Tian had posted a picture of Altantuya, Najib and Baginda on his blog but it was not the authentic one and Tian was accused of making up the story of an elusive photo. The Batu MP refused to remove the picture, saying there was no reason to do so as it did not mean that such a meeting had not occurred, nor did it mean no such photo ever existed.
"The pressure put on me only made me more convinced that Najib's supporters were trying to use my picture to get him off the hook. It reminds of the photo Isa Samad has been reported to have of Najib with Ziana Zain in Port Dickson. Just because it has been removed from circulation does not mean it does not exist, same with the Altantuya one," said Tian referring to Isa, the former Negri Sembilan chief minister who allegedly had in his possession a photo of Najib with Ziana, an actress-singer, in a compromising position at a hotel.
Too many trails that lead to Najib
Indeed the trails that lead to Najib are too strong and there is little doubt Altantuya is linked to the Scorpenes case. In her own letter, she admitted blackmailing Baginda although she did not state for what reason. But air tickets showing the she had travelled to Baginda on trips to negotiate on the Scorpene purchase have been found by French investigators.
The two special squad Malaysian cops who murdered her were Najib's former bodyguards and introduced to Baginda by Najib's aide-de-camp Musa Safri. Baginda was controversially acquitted and even though the two bodyguards have been sentenced to hang, few Malaysians doubt that they were anything more than paid assassins and the puppet-masters still at large.
French newspaper La Liberation has also reported that Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor was jealous of Altantuya and refused to allow a cent to be paid to the Mongolian lady, who had purportedly come to Kuala Lumpur to demand her share of commission. As for Balasubramaniam, he has stated that Altantuya was Najib's mistress before he 'passed' her onto Baginda.
Setev to be a Suaram witness
Who had the most motive to silence Altantuya remains the one of the hottest quizzes in Malaysia and sad to say Najib and wife Rosmah top the list as he was then the deputy prime minister and eager to make it to the top job. And Altantuya could unwittingly spoil his chances of becoming PM with her threat to go public with her story.
This is the most popular speculation amongst Malaysians of what really happened to Altantuya although Najib and Rosmah have repeatedly denied ever knowing the 28year-old beauty.
It is also worth noting that Setev said a day ago that Najib "ran away" when he previously asked to meet the Malaysian leader. He has repeated his request to meet Najib on a "father to father" basis as he believed that Najib could understand the pain his family was going through and expedite the probe.
However, if the speculation that the Najibs are involved in the Altantuya killing is true, then Setev would be wise to not hold his breath - chances are the case will be buried by delay after delay until a regime change in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel who was also at the press conference confirmed that Setev will be included in the list of witnesses Suaram is compiling to be given to the French courts.
Suaram is Malaysia's largest NGO and had lodged a complaint with the French government against its giant arms-maker DCN for allegedly having bribed Najib to agree to buy the RM7 billion Scorpene submarines. If found guilty, DCN would have to return the bribe to the Malaysian government as the Scorpenes were paid with public money. The Malaysian government would also have investigate the case which it has refused to do so far, as it would look odd that the French could confirm corruption at their end via DCN but not Putrajaya.
“We know the investigation in France is not about the murder, but it is fundamentally linked to the issue of corruption and the scandal of illegal commissions dogging current Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) and his counterparts in France,” said Gabriel.