Report: Najib quizzed over fresh Scorpene probe; MACC may summon Razak Baginda

Ida Lim

It is understood that Najib was called to the MACC’s Putrajaya headquarters this morning for this case. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has reopened its investigation into Malaysia’s 2002 purchase of two submarines in which kickbacks were alleged, with former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak questioned over the matter today.

According to the Malaysiakini news portal, Najib’s former aide Abdul Razak Baginda may also be asked to assist MACC investigations on the case.

“The case has been reopened,” a senior MACC officer was quoted as saying.

Citing sources, the portal said Najib was called to the MACC’s Putrajaya headquarters this morning for this case.

The deal involving two Scorpene submarines took place when Najib was the defence minister.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Malay Mail that the Scorpene case is being reinvestigated, adding that Abdul Razak is expected to be called.

National news agency Bernama reported Najib was at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya for almost four hours today, arriving at 9.23am and leaving at 1.15pm.

The Scorpene submarine deal gained notoriety over its alleged links to Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu, whose high-profile death in 2006 resulted in the conviction of two former police commandos over her murder.

According to past news reports, the 2002 deal for submarines purchased from a French company was worth around €1 billion (RM4.79 billion) and allegedly involved corruption with a commission of about RM540 million to a shell company with alleged ties to Razak.

In July 2017, newswire AFP reported that French investigators had indicted two former top officials of the related French companies for corruption, while two other former top officials were also being investigated in France over the case. The four were then reported to have denied wrongdoing.

In June, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu was reported saying that the Cabinet will be discussing the proposal for a special task force to be formed to probe the alleged corruption in the 2002 submarine deal.

In July, Bernama reported French Ambassador to Malaysia Frédéric Laplanche saying that cooperation between the French and Malaysian authorities over the submarine deal is “very good”, with the French authorities being in contact with the new Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.

Laplanche had said that he sensed a strong willingness to cooperate on both sides, and expressed confidence that these issues were in good hands.

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