Scorpene: Apandi urged to cooperate with French investigators


Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Anti-graft activist Cynthia Gabriel today called on Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali to offer his full cooperation to French investigators who have charged two former top executives in a probe into alleged kickbacks from the 2002 US$1.1 billion sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia.

Cynthia, who leads the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), said the 15-year-old Scorpene case could be solved speedily if Putrajaya gave its cooperation.

Apandi, she said, should abide by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption which Malaysia had signed.

“The convention provides for its signatories to cooperate to stamp out cross-border corruption,” she told FMT.The two executives charged by French investigators in the case were Philippe Japiot, former chairman of the French naval dockyards unit DCNI, and Jean-Paul Perrier, former chief executive officer of French defence and electronics giant Thales.

A report by French news agency AFP said the two were interviewed in May in connection with corruption and commission allegations.

Japiot has additionally been indicted for “abuse of social assets” and Perrier for “complicity in the abuse of social assets”.

The investigation was launched in 2010 in response to a complaint by Malaysian human rights NGO Suaram.

The complaint centred on allegations that the French submarine maker paid a commission of more than €114 million (RM560 million based on current exchange rate) to a purported shell company linked to Abdul Razak Baginda, a former close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib was the defence minister when the deal for the submarines was sealed.

Cynthia, who had been actively pressing the case with the French authorities, claimed Malaysia had been obstructing all investigations involving the Scorpene purchase.

“Now that two persons have been charged, they can’t run away any more. They have to act,” she said.

She urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to reopen the files on the case.

“There is definitely corruption in this issue and MACC must help to investigate,” she said.

The submarine deal attracted worldwide controversy after a 28-year-old Mongolian national, Altantuya Shariibuu, who reportedly acted as an interpreter during the negotiations for the submarines, was found murdered in Shah Alam in 2006.

She was shot and her body blown to pieces with C-4 military-grade explosives.

Two policemen, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar who were members of a bodyguard detail for Najib, were charged with her murder and sentenced to death.

However, Razak Baginda, who admitted to being a former lover of Altantuya, was acquitted of abetting in the murder.

Meanwhile, PKR Youth deputy chief Dr Afif Bahardin also urged MACC and the police to re-investigate the case in view of the latest development in France.

“Bringing the true criminals to trial will give justice to the people involved, including Altantuya and the two policemen caught in the scandal.

“The continued inaction of MACC and the police has tarnished their image and damaged their integrity in the eyes of the public,” he said.