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Today we witness another episode of a consistent pattern of abuse of power and manipulation of the criminal justice system.
Recently one of the witnesses in the Altantuya trial approached us with detailed information of events connected to her disappearance and murder. The information was shocking.
Mr. P. Balasubramaniam, who was engaged by Abdul Razak Baginda as a private investigator was advised to seek legal counsel and document his story independently.
Today he is releasing a statutory declaration dated 1st July 2008 to the public detailing the story that he has to tell about what actually happened and what was told to him by key personalities in this saga including Abdul Razak Baginda and Altantuya herself.
These revelations speak for themselves. They reveal, amongst others, the following allegations:
1. Mr. Balasubramaniam was engaged by Abdul Razak Baginda to deal with alleged harassment by Altantuya in relation to debts owed to her (Paragraph 5 and 6).
2. Altantuya was promised a commission of USD 500,000 for assisting in a submarine deal in Paris (Paragraph 22, Paragraph 25.5 and Paragraph 28.2 and 28.3 ).
3. Altantuya was introduced to Razak Baginda by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore ( Paragraph 25.5 and Paragraph 28.1).
4. Altantuya, Datuk Seri Najib and Razak Baginda had all been seen together at a dinner in Paris (Paragraph 28.2).
5. After the disappearance of Altantuya, a commotion took place in front of Razak Baginda’s house several days after 20 December 2006 where girl friends of Altantuya and one Mr.Ang (Altantuya’s own private investigator) arrived searching for Altantuya. Balasubramaniam had to call the police. A patrol car arrived shortly. Shortly thereafter an investigating officer from Dang Wangi Police Station who was handling the missing persons report lodged by one of Altantuya’s girl friends arrived. Balasubramaniam then informed Razak Baginda who was at home to inform him of the events taking place at his front gate. Razak then called one DSP Musa Safri who called him back informing him that Musa would be calling him on his handphone and that he was to pass the phone to the inspector from Dang Wangi Police station. Balasubramaniam then received the call from Musa Safri and duly passed the phone to the inspector. After the conversation of 3 – 4 minutes, the inspector told the girls to disperse and to see him the next day (Paragraphs 34 – 38). We believe DSP Musa Safri was aide-de-camp to Datuk Seri Najib at the material time.
6. Balasubramaniam was interrogated at Bukit Aman for seven consecutive days and his statement recorded at the end of November 2006. He says that he told the police all that he knew including everything Razak Baginda and Altantuya had told him about their relationships with Najib. These details were omitted from the statement he was asked to sign (Paragraph 49).
7. During the trial of Sirul, Azilah and Razak Baginda at at the Shah Alam High Court, the prosecutor did not ask him any questions in respect of the relationship Altantuya had with Datuk Seri Najib or of the phone call that he had received form DSP Musa Safri (Paragraph 50).
8. When Razak Baginda was arrested, Balasubramaniam was told by him that he had sent an SMS messsage to Najib the evening before (Paragraph 51). Razak also informed Balasubramaniam that he had received an SMS from Najib and showed it to him; the message read “I am seeing IGP at 11 A.M. today …. matter will be solved … be cool”.
Mr. Balasubramaniam’s evidence also mentions the extent of the relationship between Altantuya and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. We are not interested in the personal nature of the relationship. That is entirely his own business and hers.
However the allegations revealed by him raise key questions of public interest:
a) Suppression of evidence by the police investigating officers and those responsible for prosecuting this case. Such suppression could only have happened with the full knowledge of top public officials such as the IGP and the AG.
b) The question is also raised as to whether such suppression of evidence was the reason behind the last minute switch in DPP’s handling the case – where the head of the Criminal Division of the AG’s Chambers, Datuk Yusuf Zainal Abiden was completely sidelined from the case leading him and the senior DPP originally slotted for the case Sallehudin Saidin to put in papers for early retirement some months later.
c) Questions can be raised now with regard to the sudden switching of the judge fixed to hear the case which took place in March 2007 – why was this really done?
d) Did Datuk Seri Najib lie when he said that he had never met Altantuya before?
e) Did Datuk Seri Najib lie when he said that he was not involved in any commission deals for the purchases of the Scorpene submarines”
Mr.Balasubramaniam’s evidence vindicate what we have been saying all along; there has been no proper investigation of the murder of Altantuya and the investigation and proceedings in court seem to following a pre-arranged script for a pre-arranged outcome.
This has serious implications for the administration of justice in the country where the integrity and credibility of our key institutions such as the police, the AG’s chambers and the judiciary are already severely tarnished.
Today’s revelations further confirm a clear and consistent pattern of manipulation of the criminal justice system that we have witnessed in this country since 1998.
The allegations revealed here warrant a full Royal Commission of Inquiry.