Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Complex Money Trail

French lawyer Apoline Cagnat (left in above photo) representing human rights NGO Suaram told a briefing in Singapore last Tuesday that the French judicial inquiry into alleged corruption in Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene class submarines found a complex money trail due to the many companies implicated in the procurement transaction and made more complex because it involves multiple jurisdictions.

Moreover, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his confidante Abdul Razak Baginda are the “priority” testifiers – from a list of seven witnesses submitted by Suaram and accepted by the French judiciary – in the investigation, added Cagnat.

The other five witnesses are: Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; Setev Shaariibuu, the father of murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu; private investigator P Balasubramaniam; Boustead Holdings Bhd group managing director and deputy chairperson Lodin Wok Kamaruddin; and Jasbir Singh Chahl, said to be Razak's right-hand man.

Cagnat even said that should Najib refuse to testify, an arrest warrant can be issued by the French judiciary. She explained that the recent issuance of an arrest warrant for Equatorial Guinea Agriculture Minister Teodoro Nguema Obiang – who is also the son of the president – in relation to a corruption case, has shown that this may happen to Najib.

"This could definitely happen in the Scorpene case if the judges have enough evidence to issue such a warrant," she said.

Those present included seven opposition MPs, Suaram directors Cynthia and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, as well as reporters from Malaysia and Singapore.

Asked by the MPs to comment on Putrajaya's argument that the submarine procurement is strictly a state-to-state deal that does not involve the payment of commission to private companies, she replied that the government is "trying to escape" the inquiry but that the evidence shows otherwise.

The briefing was originally scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur but the event moved to Singapore at the eleventh hour when Cagnat did not receive a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs to guarantee her safe passage to Malaysia.

If what Cagnat said materializes and a subpoena is issued, there will be a drab haze of despairing despondency descending upon Seri Perdana because there will be no more Europe shopping trips for Najib and especially Rosmah.

Oh shit. Now Najib is in deep shit!!!

On Saturday, Celtic was held to a shock 1-1 draw with part-timers Second Division Arbroath in the Scottish Cup match. This pathetic result means Celtic will have to replay their Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against the third-tier side. It means another game in an already congested fixture list.

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