Home Civil Society Voices 2012 Civil Society Voices French courts open inquiry into Scorpene submarine scandal

French courts open inquiry into Scorpene submarine scandal

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Suaram is greatly pleased to inform all Malaysians, that the French courts have opened an inquiry into the alleged corruption, misuse and abuse of taxpayers money, linked to the purchase of the two Scorpene class submarines, back in 2002.

Judge Roger Loire - Photograph: lavoixdunord.fr

This long-awaited and timely development comes on the heels of numerous obstacles faced from the time the complaint was filed in April 2010. The high profile nature of the case naturally attracted strong and controversial reactions, right from the prosecutors very own objections to the case being heard in the open courts, to alleged political interferences from involved persons in both countries, and to Suaram’s questioned “locus standi” before the French courts.

It is with much relief and excitement that we announce this pivotal and triumphant moment for graft busters especially, a defining turn of events in our already heightened political landscape, and one that will surely give shape in the battle for change.

It has been exactly ten years since the scandal ridden procurement of the two Scorpene class submarines were made. Despite the many attempts to get answers to the many unanswered questions, we can safely say that none of the involved politicians, including then Defence Minister and now Prime Minister Najib Razak, would have ever imagined that an inquiry outside his country would open 10 years on, that will demand no stone unturned in the quest for the truth and accountability.

While quite frankly not expecting the complaint to make its way up in a foreign judicial system, we waited with baited breath for two anxious years and witnessed with disbelief how the Prosecutors’ office began to unravel further details of new commissions paid out, travel invoices and other payments made in the course of the procurement process. The murder of Altantuya Shaaribu, although not directly tied to the complaint filed, is intricately linked with the alleged payments and kickbacks made.

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Our lawyers William Bourdon and Joseph Breham had informed us via email and telephone on Friday, 16 March that the case has been officially registered with the courts and will now be heard before the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance, known as a first degree court that deals with civil litigation matters.

Two judges have been designated to the case, Judge Roger Le Loire and Judge Serge Tournaire. The lawyers have further confirmed that they will in the coming weeks be given access to the case files, and details of the prosecutors investigations will be made known to Suaram.

Our lawyers have also informed us that a Suaram delegation will need to be present before the judge, as key witnesses, to start off proceedings of the case.

To quote our lawyers “while the entire case will be a long drawn affair, the journey towards unravelling the truth has most certainly begun”. We are grateful to our lawyers who have worked very hard to ensure such a positive outcome of the case.

Suaram is confident that with the support of all concerned Malaysians, we will together fight this battle to the end, and send home the message that corruption and corrupt politicians no longer have a place in our country as we spring clean our nation and get ready for REAL CHANGE!

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