Scorpene scandal: Graft investigators reopen case involving Najib and Razak Baginda


PUTRAJAYA: Graft investigators are relooking into the controversial purchase of French Scorpene submarines that Malaysia bought when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) was defence minister. 

It is learnt that the case was re-opened and investigators are likely to call up other individuals linked to the case, including political analyst and former aide to Najib, Abdul Razak Baginda. 

Abdul Razak had advised Najib on the 2002 submarine deal. 

Investigators will be looking at whether kickbacks were given when the purchase was made 16 years ago. 

Sources with knowledge of the case told The Star Monday (Nov 19) that with Najib already facing court charges over the 1MDB scandal, investigators believe the time is right to relook into the Scorpene scandal. 

"Yes, we have reopened the case. We will also be calling others. Razak Baginda definitely," said a high-ranking source who wish to remain anonymous. 

The same source confirmed that Najib was summoned on Monday by graft investigators following a reopening of the case.

The former prime minister was seen entering the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters at 9.22am and left about four hours later. 

In 2002, Najib oversaw the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines and one Agosta-class submarine from French naval dockyard DCN International, worth nearly €1bil (RM4.7bil).

The submarines – named KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak – were meant to boost the Royal Malaysian Navy's defence abilities.

However, there have been allegations of suspected kickbacks linked to the deal.

In May, soon after the new government was formed, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said he would need to get a full picture of the Malaysian Armed Forces before even looking into the details of the issues and scandals, including the purchase of the submarines. 

According to a Reuters report, French financial prosecutors are probing the sale of the Scorpene-class submarines and have placed Abdul Razak under formal investigation in connection with the deal.

The French probe began after Malaysian human rights group Suaram alleged that the sale resulted in some US$130mil (RM544mil) of commissions being paid to a company linked to Najib, who has denied any wrongdoing.