KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Human rights group Suaram has sought help from the French courts to probe allegations that Malaysia’s purchase of two submarines from France is linked to the 2006 murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuyaa Shaariibu.
Political rivals have claimed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had known her but he has denied the accusations. He was also defence minister when the submarine deal was inked.
Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong said they are seeking justice for Altantuya with the French court “since the Malaysian courts have failed to shed light on her grisly murder.”
“Although two former bodyguards of the Prime Minister have been charged, the motives for the murder have not been probed by the Malaysian court,” Kua said in a statement issued today.
“We believe that there is more to the murder of Altantuya and that what is in question is millions of ringgit in commissions associated with the RM4.7 billion Scorpene submarines deal. This has grave consequences for both Malaysian and French tax payers,” he added.
French lawyers, acting on behalf of Suaram, have filed with Parisian prosecutors to investigate the submarine deal between the Malaysian government and DNC, France’s biggest defence conglomerate.
DCN’s subsidiary Amaris makes the Scorpene submaries which was sold to Malaysia.
It was brought up in the Malaysian Parliament that €114 million (RM500 million) has been paid to a Malaysia-based company called Perimekar, for “coordination and support services” in the submarines transaction.
Perimekar was wholly owned by another company, KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, which in turn was controlled by Najib’s associate, Razak Baginda. Razak’s wife Mazlinda Makhzan was the principal shareholder in this company.
Perimekar was registered in 2001, a few months before the signing of the contracts for the sale and Suaram claimed the company did not appear to have the financial resources to complete the contract.
“None of the directors and shareholders of Perimekar have any experience in the construction or maintenance of submarines,” alleged the group further.
Altantuya was allegedly the translator and Razak’s jilted lover. She was said to have participated in negotiations over the purchase of the submarines.
“By her own admission in a letter found after her death, she was attempting to blackmail Razak for US$500,000 worth of commission from the purchase.”
Although two police officers have been charged and convicted for the crime, the motives for the murder have not been probed by the Malaysian court.
Razak was charged with abetting the crime bit subsequently acquitted in November 2008 under questionable circumstances.
“The submarine deal was never brought up in court during the murder trial which saw prosecutors, defence attorneys and the judge judiciously keeping Najib’s name out of the proceedings,” blasted Suaram.
Suaram’s move to seek legal recourse with the French court was reported in regional news network Asian Sentinel.
In the report, it was stated that the Altantuya murder was not the only death related to arms deal involving DCN and that the French court have been probing on other similar allegations.
Suaram in concluding its statement said it hopes the French justice system will reveal “more than what the Malaysian judicial system has failed to deliver so far and will bring justice and closure to the family of Altantuya”.
“(This will also) force the French and Malaysian Governments to be accountable to their peoples on the submarines contract,” it added.