Thursday 2 June 2011

Subs affair: Najib's 'friend' must testify, says Suaram

Human rights NGO Suaram wants the directors of Perimekar - the company which helped procure submarines for the Malaysian Defence Ministry from France - to be subpoenaed to testify in court in Paris.

suaram french submarine case 280410 cynthia gabrielSuaram board member Cynthia Gabriel (right) said the French court and investigative judge should require the inviduals to clarify their exact roles in the Euro 114 million (RM534 million) deal.

“We are planning to talk to our lawyers in France about this, to see whether there is any way to ensure that these individuals are questioned in court about their roles in the submarine deal,” Gabriel told Malaysiakini.

Gabriel was responding to the latest Wikileaks revelation that a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur had allegedly implicated a close friend of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the 'subs scandal'.

The cable, revealed on May 19, contains a list of Najib's friends who are influential and hold prominent positions in various companies in the country.

French freelance journalist Celine Boileau wrote in her recent article 'Perimekar - Chronicle of a death foretold,' made available to Malaysiakini, that the cable had mentioned an individual named Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.

altantuya mongolian murder trial 200607 mazlinda rowenaLodin Wok was a former director of Perimekar, together with Mazlinda Makhzan (right in picture), Rozana Abdullah Meili, Abdul Rani Mohd Hussin Abdullah and Mohd Hussin Tamby.

He told Boileau that he had resigned from the company board on July 1 of last year, after the submarines had been delivered to the Malaysian government.

Mazlinda, a former magistrate, is the spouse of Najib's close aide, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was implicated in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shariibuu in 2006.

Altantuya, a mother of two, was believed to be Abdul Razak's secret lover and translator for the controversial subs deal.

Abdul Razak escaped the gallows but Najib's two bodyguards were convicted of blowing up the deceased with C4 explosives in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam.

Najib, then Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister in charge of the mega-project, has strongly denied that he was involved in the murder of Altantuya.

Malaysian gov't was Perimekar's 'sole customer'

According to Boileau, Perimekar is suspected of being created for the sole purpose of distributing a RM500 million commission between Malaysian and foreign beneficiaries.

Registered in 1999, the company defines its activities as 'marketing, maintenance and other activities related to submarines and surface vessels…'

Its financial statements, added Boileau, reported that the Malaysian government was Perimekar's “sole customer”.

The Malaysian Defence Ministry has denied that commissions were paid by any party for the procurement of the two Scorpene submarines.

NONEIts minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (left), said in a written parliamentary reply that the government had only made payments to two contractors - France's DCNS and Spain's Navantia - for the construction of the submarines.

Perimekar on the other hand, was paid for “coordination services” for the Malaysian submarine crew, added Ahmad Zahid, who recently said he was ready to testify in court about the matter.

Meanwhile, Gabriel urged the Malaysian government not to wash its hands of the matter and get cracking by launching an immediate probe into the individuals involved in the company.

“There is absolutely no excuse now for the government to keep quiet over the matter... an investigation should be opened in light of these latest allegations,” she added.

Gabriel called upon the Malaysian government to reveal the documents related to the deal which it had signed with Perimekar.

“Since so many questions have been raised about the deal, we urge the government to reveal the content of the contract or agreement inked with Perimekar,” she said.

“Please reveal the documents to the public in the name of transparency and good governance,” she added.

Suaram, through its French lawyers, had filed a suit last year against Paris-based submarine maker DCNS, which had allegedly paid kickbacks to unidentified Malaysian officials.

Following Suaram's complaint, files pertaining to the Malaysian deal were seized by French financial police in a raid on the DCNS offices last June.

Payment of commissions on defence contracts amounts to corruption and is punishable under French law.

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