Sulu case: Azalina hopes justice will prevail as Stampa faces Madrid court

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 05 Dec 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government hopes that the Madrid Court will, on Dec 11, sentence Spanish arbitrator Dr Gonzalo Stampa, who is facing charges for "unqualified professional practice” after controversially ordering Malaysia to pay US$14.92bil to the self-proclaimed heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said she was a little apprehensive about the trial because Stampa is an influential individual in Madrid.

ALSO READ: Sulu case: Stampa to face criminal charges in Madrid on Dec 11, says Azalina

The Madrid Court had carried out its own investigations and filed charges against Stampa and if found guilty, he faces a jail sentence and fine.

The date for the hearing was set following persistent and aggressive demands by the government of Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Sulu case: French court ends so-called heirs' claims over Malaysia's diplomatic assets, says Azalina

"His father is a well-known person, in fact he (the father) was involved in the independence process of Spain, was involved in the revolution during that time and was also a lawyer, meaning his father and family are very influential people.

"We hope there won’t be any negative pressure during (trial), because it was clear that he (Dr Gonzalo Stampa) had breached the laws of Spain,” she told Bernama after appearing as a guest on the Ruang Bicara programme aired by BernamaTV for "A Year With the Malaysia Madani Government" at Wisma Bernama on Monday (Dec 4) night.

ALSO READ: M'sia will not entertain any frivolous claims on Sabah, says Zambry

Azalina said she, the Attorney General and a number of international officers will be in Spain to attend the trial held at the Madrid Court.

According to Azalina, the trial and sentence involving Stampa was important, especially so, because of his action to award the said amount to the defunct Sulu Sultanate despite an end to his services as an arbitrator but he had continued to carry out international arbitration cases by shifting his base to different countries before making a decision against the Malaysian government.

ALSO READ: Sulu case: A lesson for Malaysia to be careful in matters involving international arbitration

"...the award, I do not refer to it as Sulu Award but Sulu Fraud, they go to many European countries, because in Europe when they see an award from the arbitrator, they regard is as legal. That is why we must revert back to Madrid where the first award was declared.

"Therefore, we want the Madrid Court to sentence Stampa for the criminal charges and for the crime against the sovereignty of Malaysia, and this will be a victory because he moved to another country to persecute Malaysia,” she said.

ALSO READ: ‘Put to rest other claims on Sabah too’

Meanwhile, when asked about the same issue during the Ruang Bicara programme broadcast on Bernama TV Monday night, Azalina said the Sulu case is an example of Malaysia not being equipped with laws on the immunity of the country.

Azalina added that what happened was, Malaysia, as a country, became a victim of the Sulu Fraud, which involved fraudulent court processes involving international arbitration...and a fraud by the appointed arbitrator.

"Because at that time we were not ready, our country was also not stable. So, they took the opportunity. That is why we tabled the State Immunity Bill which aims to provide immunity to foreign countries from civil proceedings in Malaysian courts subject to the immunity restrictions provided, for first reading in Dewan Rakyat on Nov 29,” she said. - Bernama

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