MACC should initiate criminal suit against Razak Baginda following French charge, NGO C4 says

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 11): The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to initiate criminal proceedings against political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda for the alleged corruption case involving the €1 billion purchase of three submarines, as the Malaysian law allows for it.

This follows the French judiciary’s confirmation via non-governmental organisation (NGO) Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) that Razak Baginda has been charged under French laws.

“MACC should initiate criminal proceedings against Razak Baginda for his now confirmed involvement in this grand corruption scandal, involving millions of kickbacks, amounting to close to a billion ringgit,” it said in a statement.

Last week, C4, and NGO Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), said French human rights lawyer William Bourdon, who is acting for Suaram, confirmed Razak Baginda’s indictment on July 18.

The two groups said they were informed by Bourdon that investigating judge Roger LeLoire had written a separate 11-page judgment on the grounds for Razak Baginda’s indictment and rationale for pressing criminal charges against him.

Today, C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel and legal officer Fadiah Nadwa cited Section 66(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which empowers MACC to conduct criminal proceedings against Malaysians and permanent residents of Malaysia when an offence under the Act is committed outside Malaysia, provides the commission an avenue to take action against Razak Baginda.

Razak Baginda has denied being charged. He claims while there is an ongoing inquiry, there are no formal charges in a court of law brought against an individual.

Previously, MACC had reportedly said it would send a team of lawyers to seek clarification on the alleged charge, to which C4 said is unnecessary and is a waste of public funds for the MACC.

“MACC clearly has the power to initiate its own investigations criminal proceedings in Malaysia against Razak Baginda. The Malaysian government is obliged to offer its full cooperation under the UN Anti Corruption Convention (UNCAC) and work to uncover those persons who have embezzled public funds for their personal gain.

“The use of shell companies for laundered monies, hidden from public scrutiny, warrants serious and urgent attention, as the indictment of a Malaysian in the submarine deal has pointed to massive embezzlement and cross border corruption by these persons,” Gabriel and Fadiah said.

They added: “The Scorpene submarine corruption scandal constitutes one of the Malaysian government’s greatest robberies over its people, committed in the name of national secret and security.

“It bears reminding that the gruesome murder of (French translator) Altantuya Shaaribu, although not directly tied to the initial complaint filed with the French Court, is intricately linked with the alleged payments and kickbacks made”.

A week ago, French wire services AFP quoting a French judicial source revealed that Razak Baginda, 57, was charged on July 18 with 'active and passive complicity in corruption’ and misappropriation of corporate assets.

AFP wrote four French defence industry executives from the international arm of Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN), a French naval dockyards unit from where the submarines were bought, have also been charged for corruption. They denied the charges.

AFP said the deal was to purchase two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta-class submarines from DCN, which is linked to the French defence group Thales SA.

The investigation into the deal was launched in 2010, following Malaysian non-governmental organisation Suaram’s report lodged in Paris then, AFP said.

The complaint was based on allegations that the French submarine maker paid a commission of more than €114 million to an alleged shell company, Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, linked to Razak Baginda.