Wednesday, 27 June 2012

‘Zahid could be hauled up for contempt’

PKR's Tian Chua reveals French court documents which he claims debunks the goverment's constant denial in the Scorpene case.

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Tian Chua has accused the government of lying over the controversial Scorpene submarine case.

He also said that Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi could be hauled up for contempt of Parliament.

The Batu MP was referring to the minister’s denial in the Dewan Rakyat last night regarding several allegations that emerged from a French inquiry into the case initiated by local NGO Suaram.

“It is insufficient to just state that there is no relationship between the government and Terasasi (Hong Kong). I will continue to bring this up in parliament. The defence minister can also be brought up for contempt of parliament,” he said.

Suaram had claimed the Paris papers showed that at least 32 million euros (RM144 million) were paid by Thales International (Thint) Asia — a subsidiary of DCN, to Terasasi.

Suaram also alleged that there was an invoice by Terasasi dated Oct 1, 2000 for 100,000 euros (RM397,880).

There was also another invoice from Terasasi to Thint Asia, dated Aug 28, 2004, for 359,450 euros (RM1.44 million) with a hand-written note saying: “Razak wants it in a hurry”.

Another “consulting agreement” was signed in 2000 between Thint Asia and Terasasi for 2.5 million euros.

Terasasi and Perimeker were both owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“The Defence Ministry has denied any connection with Terasasi and has also stressed that the contract was signed between the government and Perimekar for coordination and support services, and that was what cost RM500 million,” said Tian.

“The government says that they do not know about Terasasi’s existence and if Terasasi had sold secret Navy documents to France,” he added.

Was Razak Baginda dishonest?

Tian pointed to his own documents that he revealed yesterday that showed Terasasi was owned by Razak Baginda, “the anchor person in the Scorpene deal” and his father.

“So if the government claims that they don’t know, it means that Razak Baginda was dishonest in his contract because he not only received payment from the government as the contract was also signed between Terasasi and Thompson, which later became DCN,” he said.

Tian claimed that the government’s answers were “insincere”.

Showing reporters a translated document from the French investigation, Tian claimed that it showed that the names “Terasasi” and “Altantuya [Shaariibuu]” were clearly mentioned.

“I have translated one very relevant document, number 136. This was an interview with the French police and Gerard-Pihllippe Menayas, the financial controller of DCNS under the orders of the French judge,” he added.

Tian said that in the interview, as seen in the investigation papers, it was stated that the various companies involved were sought by the Malaysian government over the submarine deal.

“In a question on the companies that were used for payments, Menayas replied that ‘Eurolux’ or ‘Gifen’ was used. Those payments were made through those companies.

“To another question concerning the claim of Razak Baginda’s expenses, Menayas replied: “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.”

Tian said it was clear, from the documents, that payments were made to Terasasi. He also said that the repeated mentioning of her name was why the government cannot deny Altantuya’s role as well.

Quoting another section of the same document, Tian said there were “remuneration fees”, including a 68,602 euro retainer fee, a 2% of success fee (20 euro million) and 1% support fee (10 million euro). The total amounted to 30 million euros.

“These were charges of Terasasi to France,” he added.

Minister contradicted himself

Meanwhile, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said that Zahid’s denial was contradictory with his past statement.

“Focusing on that particular issue where he previously admitted that the same document was traced out and that his ministry was monitoring, now he is saying it was never sold out of the country. The answers he gave yesterday raises more questions than answers,” she said.

Weighing in on the issue, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said:”The point about these investigations is that it raises serious questions. The prime minister, who was defence minister [then], should face up to the issue squarely.”

“After all, if he did nothing wrong, then what has he got to fear? You talk about transparency and accountability.

“The fact is that Malaysians are not convinced, it shows the depth of skepticism when these official announcements are made, because people believe due process is not followed, unlike in France where they would go down to unearth the full story.

“The minister should not be so naive to think that he can dispel this skepticism just by one mere statement in parliament which is actually just a blanket denial without producing further facts in rebuttal to what has come out from the French courts,” he added.

Minister: No information

Yesterday, Zahid denied the alleged sale of classified documents as there was “no information on the allegation”.

Terasasi was alleged to have received 36 million euros (RM142 million) from DCNS for among others, the “sale” of a highly confidential report comprising the Malaysian Navy’s evaluation for the order of the submarines.

Zahid was responding to an adjournment speech by Nurul.

He also said that there was no need for an independent commission to investigate the purchase of new Scorpene submarines as the vessels were accquired according to National Defence Equipment Procurement procedures.

He said the government also found it unnecessary to be an observer at France’s ‘Tribunal de Grande Istance’ Court as it understands that there is no trial taking place in the country on the Scorpene submarine issue.

Nurul, in her speech, sought the government’s clarification on allegations that a 114 million euro commission was paid to a company in Malaysia and that Defence Ministry secret documents on the procurement of the submarines were leaked to a French company.

She also raised the issue of the procurement of the submarines being investigated by Tribunal de Grande Istance’ as alleged by Suaram in Bangkok in May.

The Lembah Pantai MP also called for an independent commission to investigate the issue.

Zahid stressed that the ministry never paid any commission directly or indirectly to any companies in the procurement of the submarines.

Suaram had successfully sought for a judicial inquiry at the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris to probe alleged corruption crimes and illegal bribes involving top officials from both Malaysia and France in the submarine deal.

Suaram claimed that DCNS had paid bribery amounting to 114 million euros to Perimekar, with help from Altantuya, who was later gruesomely murdered for allegedly asking a part of the bribe.

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