Sunday, January 18, 2015

The who, why and what in Altantuya's case

8:00AM Jan 14, 2015
The murder case of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariiibuu has drawn to an end with former police officers Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar being convicted and sent to the gallows.

The trial saw 75 prosecution witnesses whereas the defence had only called in Azilah and Sirul.

There are several questions which still bog the mind, such as:
  • Why was there a change of judge and prosecutors?
At the Shah Alam High Court, the case was initially slated to be heard before Justice KN Segara, who is known to be a no-nonsense judge.

Segara had heard the plea of the three accused (including political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda) when they were first brought to the High Court. However, the case was then transferred to Justice Mohd Zaki Yasin. Segara was then elevated to the Court of Appeal where he eventually retired.

There was also a change in prosecutors as well with former Selangor prosecution chief Sallehuddin Saidin being replaced in the eleventh hour with deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, who is known to be close to attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, while Sallehuddin is aligned to former solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.

Sallehuddin eventually left the Attorney-General’s Chambers and formed his own private practice. Tun Abdul Majid also led the prosecution team in former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik's cheating case involving the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.     

Also raising eyebrows is the fact that lawyer Wong Kian Kheong, said to be close to the attorney-general, had represented both Abdul Razak and Ling.

Wong was initially with the AG’s Chambers but he later joined the private practice in Lee Hishammuddin, a legal firm founded by Najib's cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein, who was then the home minister.

Wong has since been appointed judicial commissioner.
  • Why and who did Azilah call?
Azilah had called an unidentified individual twice from Puncak Alam (scene of the crime) after 11pm on Oct 19, 2006 prior to the murder taking place, based on his mobile phone records. Why and who did he call?                                                               
  • Why was the motive not established?
Justice Mohd Zaki did not allude to the motive behind the killing of Altantuya, and ruled that it was not essential to the murder case.
  • Why didn’t the prosecution appeal the acquittal of Abdul Razak, who was accused of abetting the murder?
This follows what they claimed to be a finding of fact in the political analyst’s affidavit with regard to his bail application. The affidavit was not made available in entirety to the media.

This affidavit was filed by Wong the moment Sirul and Azilah were arrested, pointing the fingers at them. That was their death warrant.
  • Why did Sirul claim that he was being made a “scapegoat” in order to protect “their plans” and who were he referring to?
  • Did the two police officers act on their own?
  • Was Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's former aide de camp DSP Musa Safri's role merely limited to sending Azilah to Abdul Razak’s house in Damansara Heights and office in Jalan Ampang to resolve a problem?
  • What was the role played by Altantuya in the Defence Ministry’s deal in the purchase of the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene submarines from France? Did she know something more?
(The government had awarded Perimekar Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Abdul Razak, who admitted to having an affair with Altantuya, to purchase and maintain the submarines during Najib’s tenure as defence minister.)
  • Did Najib know Altantuya as claimed in the late P Balasubramaniam's first statutory declaration (SD), which he said was based on what Abdul Razak told him?
Balasubramaniam was allegedly forced to retract his explosive 16-page SD and signed a second SD. He was allegedly helped by senior lawyer Cecil Abraham, who is nowunder probe by the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board.

Subsequently, Balasubramaniam and his family left for India after allegedly being asked to lay low for five years before returning in 2013. The private investigator died of an heart ailment soon after.

Najib sworn in a mosque in 2008 that he had never met Altantuya.

Balasubramaniam's family had filed a RM1.9 million suit against Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and Cecil, along with six others, but the suit was struck out last month.
~ Malaysiakini

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