Media Release: C4 Center and SUARAM Met with Defence Minister over Scorpene Corruption Scandal

Media Release: C4 Center and SUARAM Met with Defence Minister over Scorpene Corruption Scandal

Joint Press Statement 29 June 2018

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and had a successful meeting with Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu yesterday at the Ministry of Defence. At the meeting, C4 Center and SUARAM briefed the Defence Minister about the ongoing judicial inquiry into the Scorpene corruption scandal in the French Court. 

We informed the Defence Ministry that the French lawyer acting for SUARAM, William Bourdon is making arrangements to come to Malaysia and meet with the Defence Minister to discuss how the new Malaysian government can extend its cooperation in moving the French inquiry forward. C4 Center and SUARAM also handed over a report titled ‘Report on the Scorpene Corruption Scandal’ to the Defence Minister. 

It bears reminding that the Scorpene corruption scandal which emanates from the purchase of two Scorpene class submarines in 2002 constitutes one of the Barisan Nasional government’s greatest robberies over its people, committed in the name of national secret and security. The Scorpene corruption scandal masterminded by Razak Baginda also reveals evidence of collusion and complicity with the top leadership of this country, in particular the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak who at the material time was the Defence Minister. 

The former Prime Minister Najib Razak deliberately contracted his close associate Razak Baginda to lead the procurement negotiations. Razak Baginda was not a personnel of the Defence Ministry, but was handpicked by Najib Razak to lead the negotiations. One of the seized documents highlights the fact that Razak Baginda was also handpicked because of his wife’s (Mazlinda Makhzan) close relationship with Najib Razak’s wife (Rosmah Mansor). 

It is noteworthy that the case is still ongoing in the French Court and it is only a matter of time that the proceeding is moved to a higher court where those involved will be prosecuted. 

C4 Center and SUARAM welcome the Defence Minister’s commitment to meeting with lawyer William Bourdon in order to facilitate the judicial inquiry. This move is in consonance with Malaysia’s international obligation under articles 43 and 44 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Articles 43 and 44 of the UNCAC impose an obligation on Malaysia to cooperate with other State Parties in the fight against corruption. 

In July 2011, William Bourdon was arbitrarily deported from Malaysia by the Barisan Nasional government for giving a briefing on the development of the case in the French court at a fundraising event. 

Given the strong commitment made by the Pakatan Harapan government to stamp out corruption, we urge that Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin lift the ban placed on William Bourdon immediately. This move would enable him to enter Malaysia and advise the government, in particular the Minister of Defence on the latest development of the case, the next course of action, and steps to be taken to ensure that the case proceeds without a hitch in the French court. 

We truly hope that this undertaking will be pursued with the highest level of commitment. Before the change of government, efforts to unveil the truth and pursue justice were met with harassment and intimidation. Given the new government’s commitment to upholding accountability, now is the time that all necessary steps are taken to unveil the whole truth behind the corruption scandal. This move would facilitate the quest to bring those responsible to account. 

Released By

Cynthia Gabriel (Executive Director) C4 Center
Sevan Doraisamy (Executive Director) SUARAM 

Note: The Scorpene corruption scandal centres on the payment of €114 million (RM570 million) in commissions and kickbacks made by Thales and DCNS to Malaysian officials through a company called Perimekar Sdn Bhd (Perimekar) – a company controlled by Abdul Razak Baginda. Five individuals including Abdul Razak Baginda have been indicted by the French Court for their involvement in the Scorpene corruption scandal.