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Friday, June 29, 2012

Altantuya not linked to Scorpenes?Here's evidence, stop the denial game -SUARAM tells govt

Altantuya not linked to Scorpenes?Here's evidence, stop the denial game -SUARAM tells govt
Confidential investigative documents submitted to the French trial on the alleged corruption in the DCNS sale of 2 Scorpene submarines to the Malaysian government are being "twisted" to help Prime Minister Najib Razak "damage-control" his way out of the escalating scandal that may force his ouster from power.
Malaysian NGO SUARAM, which filed the complaint that led to the French probe, slammed a recent news article suggesting that murdered Mongolian 'party girl' Altantuya Shaariibuu had never entered France and insinuated her connection to Scorpenes corruption case was a mere figment of the Opposition's imagination.
The article entitled French probe: Altantuya never entered France was published earlier this week in a news portal linked to Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a former pro-Opposition blogger who has since switched allegiance to Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling Umno party (scroll below to read the full article)/
Najib has of course been accused of involvement in Altantuya's murder, which he has denied, although 2 of his former bodyguards have been sentenced to hang for the killing. His close friend and Scorpenes negotiator Razak Baginda was also controversially acquitted of having abetted the bodyguards in the murder.
"SUARAM finds the report on the FMT misleading and insincere," Cynthia Gabriel told Malaysia Chronicle in an email statement.
Leaving out key pieces of information
The FMT report had said a French police investigation revealed that a person named Altantuya Shaariibuu had never entered France from 1999 to 2006. It then hedged its claim by admitting that:
"it is possible that Altantuya could have entered France under another name. It is a known fact that she was also known as “Amina Abdullah”. It is also possible that she could have entered France through a neighbouring European Union country."
"Their investigation finds that there are no immigration records of an “Altantuya Shaariibuu” entering France in that period, raising a red flag on the existence of a photograph of the Mongolian, Najib Tun Razak and Abdul Razak Baginda in Paris, allegedly taken between 2004 and 2006."
Cynthia questioned how the FMT article could reach such a conclusion when document 54 which the FMT article took its information from "also has another important piece of information which was not reported in the FMT".
"Noting in particular that a person by the name of SHAARIYBUU Bayasgalan born on 26 February 1979 in Mongolia was issued a temporary residency card on the French territory valid from 27 August 2004 to 26 November 2004. The address declared was 18 rue Houdon in Paris 18."
"So it has become very likely that Atantuya travelled on a different name," said Cynthia.
No connection? Altanutya's name and position as translator was SPECIFICALLY mentioned!
Another document 136 that records an interview between the French police and former DCNS Financial Director GĂ©rard-Philippe Menayas also specifically mentioned Altantuya by name and stated her position as Baginda's interpreter.
"Mr. Jean-Marie BOIVIN told me that Mr. SOUVAGEOT from ARMARIS asked him to take charge part of Mr. Baginda’s expenses via GIFEN because THALES couldn’t take them into account. I don’t know for what reason, these expenses did not fit THALES. According to Mr. BOIVIN, it was about the trip expenses of Mr. BAGINDA with his interpreter Madame Altantuya SHARIBUU".
"So it has become quite clear (from document 136) that Altantuya was very much involved in the Scorpene scandal, and has even supporting facts to show that she was indeed in France. The question that begs to be answered now is what was her real role in the entire negotiations?" said Cynthia.
Yet, FMT reported that the documents "revealed that DCNS officials had also informed French police that they never met a person named Altantuya and do not know who she is in the course of their negotiations for the Scorpene deal".
"It looks another damage control attempt by the Najib camp but they are too clumsy. They are trying hard to break the connection between Altantuya and the Scorpenes trial," PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
"Why are they trying to do this, I think it is obvious and boomerangs back on Najib. Look at Zul Noordin and Zahrain Hashim. Both have suddenly thrown in their 2 cents worth on the case, with Zahrain saying almost the same thing as the FMT article."
Turning the tables: Blaming the murder-corruption cases on Anwar and Pakatan
Indeed, the Umno-aligned press as well as politicians have tried to turn the Altantuya-Scorpenes table on the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim by accusing the latter of trying to smear Najib with the murder.
"Altantuya was not in Paris, the photo was doctored or cut and pasted. This is a huge insult to the prime minister and has been used by Suaram to attack him,"NST reported Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Hashim as saying at the Parliament lobby earlier this week.
"In fact, ever since Altantuya’s remains were recovered in the early hours of Oct 19, 2006, Najib’s detractors had jumped onto the bandwagon to link him to the murder, allegedly over the submarine deal," said the FMT article.
"Many opposition leaders have claimed that they were aware of the photograph which showed Najib, Abdul Razak and Altantuya being together in Paris but so far the photo has not surfaced anywhere. Nevertheless, they continue to link Najib to her murder, despite the prime minister’s vehement denials of even meeting her, let alone knowing her."
More than enough basis to link Najib to the Altantuya murder and demand answers
But the stark reality is that there is more than enough basis to link Najib to the Altantuya murder and the Scorpenes corruption trial.
For the Scorpenes case, the French court is now doing the fact-finding. It will reach its verdict after interviewing all the witnesses including Baginda, and perhaps Najib and current Defense minister Zahid Hamidi as well, if they agree to take the stand.
For the Altantuya murder, the trial has already taken place in Malaysia. The French court has stated clearly it would not delve into a killing that did not occur on its soil. Nevertheless, it also said it would welcome any information that can shed light on how the Malaysian transaction took place and all the parties involved including the 28-year-old Altantuya, who would be linked to Baginda who in turn is indisputably a key player.
"The role played by Altantuya was told by Razak Baginda in the Malaysian murder trial. It is said that she was a translator for the Scorpene deal, although various sources revealed that her command of French was limited. However, she spoke Russian and various East Asian languages," said Tian.
"So it comes back to the basic question: who was Altantuya working for? What was her 'expertise' and what was her real role? The Scorpene negotiation did not required her expertise. If so, what gave her the entitlement to claim payment of commission from Razak Baginda? If she had not contributed to the negotiation of Scorpene, why Razak Baginda even entertained her demand?"
Stop the denial game: When will MACC break its silence
Indeed, the questions that remain unanswered in the Altantuya can only be answered by Baginda, Najib and the tight circle of people involved in the Scorpenes deal.
However, any information that comes as a result of the Scorpenes trial in France should be an impetus for the Malaysian authorities to 're-open' investigation into the case to allow for the new evidence. And perhaps this what Najib fears the most.
So far, the PM has been able to clamp down on information released to the press, while the Malaysian court has studiously and obediently avoided the question of why his two former bodyguards would want to kill Altantuya; or why Najib's aide-de-camp Musa Safri had introduced them to help Baginda stop Altantuya from blackmailing him. A statement by one of the bodyguards stating that he was paid RM100,00 to kill Altantuya mysteriously never made to the court.
As for the DCNS having paid Najib and other Malaysian officials illicit commissions amounting to at least 114 mil euros or RM570 mil, SUARAM said more than enough information had been gleaned from the French police's investigative documents to warrant a full-scale investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission or MACC.
"We demand that the Malaysian government stop the denial game, and provide proper answers to the piling questions that have arisen from the latest revelations on the Scorpene inquiry. When will MACC break its silence," said Cynthia.
Malaysia Chronicle

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