Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) welcome recent developments in the Scorpene inquiry being conducted at Tribunal deGrande Instance in Paris.
We congratulate investigating judge Roger LeLoire for his determination and diligence in arriving at such critical outcomes and bringing the inquiry to new turning points, five years since the investigations started.
On 1 August 2017, news broke that key negotiator to the deal Abdul Razak Baginda was indicted for active and passive complicity to corruption and abuse of corporate assets. The reports of the indictment were confirmed by our French lawyer, William Bourdon, who took a break from his summer vacation, to talk with us briefly.
He informed us that investigating judge LeLoire has written a separate 11-page judgment on the grounds for Razak Baginda’s indictment and rationale for pressing criminal charges against him. Bourdon has informed us that his office will obtain this document upon returning from his leave.
“Baginda has been indicted. That is confirmed on 18 July 2017. An investigating judge has the powers to press criminal charges, against suspects he finds has violated French laws, in this case the OECD convention as well. There should not be any doubts to this, as France has a two-tier court system. All indicted persons will be brought before a higher court, when this inquiry completes shortly”, Mr Bourdon told us over the telephone yesterday evening.
The indictment of Baginda has confirmed our greatest fears that grand corruption has taken place and that millions of Malaysians taxpayers’ money have been swindled, through the arms deal back in 2002.
It has moved the inquiry at the French tribunal to a critical turning point that requires immediate and urgent cooperation by the Malaysian government to meet its commitment under the UN Convention Against Corruption, to extend its cooperation to France, and to commit to resolving this case and bringing the corrupt offenders to face justice and account to the Malaysian people.
It is no longer tenable for the Malaysian authorities to dismiss the Scorpene deal as above board and keep silent on the damning developments in France, given that a key Malaysian official and negotiator in the deal has been pressed with preliminary criminal charges, pointing to massive cross-border corruption.
As Prime Minister Najib was the Defence Minister who signed on the contract then, we urge him to answer what happened then and what would be the steps taken by Malaysian institutions, particularly the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Let this not be another 1MDB.
Statement released by Cynthia Gabriel, executive director of C4 Centre, and Sevan Doraisamy, executive director of Suaram.