PM NAJIB & ROSMAH ACCUSED OF ALTANTUYA MURDER. CHAPTER 21 'A THEORY OF MURDER' FROM 'MURDERED IN MALAYSIA: THE ALTANTUYA STORY' BY E.S. SHANKAR
CHAPTER 21 – A THEORY OF MURDER!
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Shooting The Breeze
There is an old Tamil saying that you can’t hide a full pumpkin in half a plate of rice.
If there is one reason, and only one, why the murder of Altantuya is the result of a massive conspiracy, then it must be that her executioners blew her body up with C4 explosives. It is not unknown for men and women to kill on the spur of the moment with homicidal tendencies leaping to the fore from a rush of blood. Crimes of passion are often the result of such uncontainable emotional experiences and outbursts. But no one, and no one, can lay claim to unpremeditated murder when they go out of their way to collect C4 explosives and then use it to kill, never mind their motives.
The Central Clue
This then is THE central clue to unravelling the entire mystery of the Altantuya murder affair. Premeditated murder here unequivocally points to a darker motive or two, possibly three. What did those who planned Altantuya’s execution wish to hide forever by blowing up her body to the winds?
It must be that she was carrying someone’s unborn child.
Sirul, in his inadmissible confession, states exactly that:
“I saw that she was in a state of fear and she pleaded not to kill her and said she was expecting.”
It must be the unborn child of someone very high up in defence or at the uppermost echelon of government, or both. Now we know why Judge Zaki refused to let the confession stand. The Attorney General’s office had tied his hands by publicly announcing that only three persons were responsible for Altantuya’s murder. What other negotiations took place between the judge and the Attorney General can easily be guessed at. A murdered baby would have blown open a massive conspiracy and brought down the government of prime minister Najib Tun Razak!
Two Central Questions – Motive And The Mastermind
The other central questions are why would two cops, neither of whom knew Altantuya (or Baginda) personally, kill her unless instructed to do so by their superiors and other conspirators? Who was the mastermind who gave the orders to kill?
It is also a given that Azilah and Sirul participated in Altantuya’s killing. Sirul’s original confession, ruled inadmissible by High Court trial judge Zaki, contains a graphic tale of spine-chilling, ruthless, efficient and cold-blooded murder that would be beyond the mere fantasy imagination of a lowly corporal like Sirul; it can only be a description of actual happenings. It is a fact that Azilah recruited Sirul, and so their dual fates were sealed forever.
Which brings us to the curious case of evidence planted in Sirul’s flat and car. It is important to understand that Azilah could not logically have out of the blue calledup Sirul and asked him for the first time to help him commit murder. Azilah could not risk working with novices in a case where he received instructions from PM Najib’s security chief Musa Safri, and from Razak Baginda, Najib’s blue-eyed boy and front-man linked to the RM7.5 billion (US$2.3 billion or €1.5 billion) Scorpene submarines contract scandal and the RM 575 million (US$180 million or €115 million) “co-ordination and support services” fee suspected to be a sham arrangement for fraudulently payments to Perimekar, a Baginda controlled company.
It could not be a random choice, unless of course, Azilah had a pool of killer cops to pick and choose from. That possibility is surely there. Razak Baginda had in his sworn affidavit mentioned about Azilah having told him that he had killed six to ten others before. Azilah denied it on the stand under oath. However, it is a fair assumption that Azilah lied andthat Sirul must have been in on those killings as well.
Were those previous killings cases of :
1. Cops indulging in extra-judicial executions to get rid of difficult gangsters and
2. Cops working hand in glove with triads and criminal gangs to off rivals? or,
3. Cops working for crooked politicians? Or
4. All of the above?
There have been several accusations in recent years that some Ministers, the AG and the IGP were under the pay of triads.
Throughout this episode, Sirul was in contact with only Azilah and received all the instructions from him. The lines of communication were very clear – Baginda to ? to Musa Safri to Azilah to Sirul. So, it is entirely conceivable that Sirul was kept in the dark about the big picture and all the connections and links. Azilah would have had to be told some aspects of the big picture, but not all. The fact that till today he has kept his lips tightly sealed means he knows a heck of a lot more and has been rewarded handsomely to maintain an unholy silence.
Sirul, on the other hand, protested until his original confession was ruled inadmissible at the High Court, and then claimed in his unsworn statement read from the dock that:
“Before I complete my statement, I must clarify that I have never met the victim in this case and have had no personal dealings whatsoever with her. I also do not know Abdul Razak bin Abdullah (Baginda) and have had no dealings with him before this case. I appeal to this Court to take into account that throughout this hearing, I have followed the proceedings and note that many important prosecution witnesses, principally those from D9 IPK cooked up stories, lied and always changed their stories when cross-examined. I note this with concern because, for me, their actions are done with the deliberate intention of implicating me so that I will be the black sheep who has to be sacrificed to protect the plans and evil intentions of those who are not in Court today to face the outcome of their treatment and schemes. I have not a single reason to hurt, what more, take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner. I appeal to this court which is in session and has the power to determine whether I live or die, so that I will not be hung, to, once and for perfectly complete the agenda they have for me.”
Sirul is clearly hinting at a conspiracy.
Is it possible Azilah and Sirul were misled by their superiors and the conspirators as to their mission to kill? Could they have been briefed and spun a story that Altantuya was a national security threat which had to be exsanguinated, and that they would be performing a great service to the King and citizens of Malaysia?
Sirul, possibly, but not Azilah.
Why would Sirul agree to a deal, presumably the same generous one like Azilah did, and then renege on it? Obviously, part of the deal must have been that he would never hang for Altantuya’s murder. So, either Sirul was double-crossed or something went terribly wrong and they, the conspirators, panicked and had to make sure enough incriminating evidence was hung on at least one of the accused, but not Baginda their crony, to secure conviction, the troubling ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt’ legal nicety. This explains why Azilah and Sirul were both packed off to foreign missions on short notice.
They could not plant evidence in Azilah’s home as he lived there with his parents and brothers; Baginda was out of the question. So, Sirul was the obvious choice, as he was divorced and lived alone in his flat. More obligingly, he had left the keys to his car (parked at police HQ in Bukit Aman) in his own office in-tray, and told about it to his long-time friend and immediate superior at UTK, Sgt. Rosli. Sirul had so thoroughly cleaned his car such that subsequently police could not find a single fingerprint or bloodstain anywhere in it. There were, as testified under oath on the stand by Rosli, 4 days from 3 November 2006 to 6 November 2006 when the car keys were in the possession of ASP Khairi.
Similarly, he had handed over the keys to his flat to ACP Mastor on 5th November. Mastor had testified that the keys eventually found their way to ASP Zulkainain via CI Koh Fei Cheow. But when asked to verify the keys in court, Mastor had no doubt that the set of 3 shiny keys were the originals, of which there had been more and they were old and discoloured from use.
And hey presto, on 9th November, a police forensic team led by Superintendent Soo Mee Tong “discover” the infamous pair of blood-stained slippers in the back-well interior of Sirul’s car and a single spend bullet cartridge on the floor in the space between the driver’s seat and door. Soil samples extracted from Sirul’s car did not match with those found at the murder site. On 7th November, police, led by ASP Zulkarnain and CI Koh Fei Cheow, find Sirul’s blood-stained jacket and Altantuya’s jewellery items in his flat. Sgt, Rosli testified that the police had a different set of keys to Sirul’s flat from those he had seen!
Planting the spent bullet cartridge was a mistake, another huge and careless blunder. Forensics could only identify the cartridge to a gun officially issued to Sirul. Sirul had surrendered that gun to UTK Armoury on 31 October 2006. UTK Armoury Storekeeper Fatimah Wahab testified that Sirul had returned both the gun and all 60 bullets issued to him earlier on 4 October 2006, although she had not recorded it as such in the relevant register.
Subsequently, anyone could have accessed that gun, given the porous security and poor record-keeping at UTK. However, since Altantuya’s body was never found, and no spent cartridges were found at the murder site, the prosecution was never able to prove that it was Sirul’s gun that had been used to shoot her; in fact, they had not a scrap of evidence that Altantuya had been shot at all before being blown up by explosives. It was a complete waste
In his original confession Sirul clearly states that after the killing, he went home to shower and change clothes, following which he disposed the soiled clothes, some of Altantuya’s personal belongings and the detonation wires in a rubbish container at a construction site near Bukit Aman. So, how did all these so incriminating blood-stained items re-appear so conveniently? It defies belief that an experienced killer cop like Sirul would retain Altantuya’s blood-stained jewellery and slippers and stash it away in, of all of all places, his flat and car, to be caught flat-footed.
There is a school of thought that Azilah and Sirul never expected to be brought to court, which is why Sirul got careless. They were undeniably seen by PI Bala and taxi driver Ong Ah Choon outside Baginda’s house and leaving in Altantuya’s company with Corporal Rohaniza on the night of the murder. Musa Safri was also spotted in his car driving past Baginda’s house by PI Bala on the same night. So, all these parties, including Baginda, who was kept informed of the events as they unfolded by PI Bala, knew that Azilah and Sirul were without a shadow of doubt connected with Altantuya’s disappearance. Yet, Azilah and Sirul carried out their execution as though they would never be discovered. They got careless. Such arrogance and confidence can only have stemmed from the fact that they must have been given assurances by their highly-placed and influential co-conspirators that, even if captured
and brought to trial, they would escape the gallows, and be spirited away quietly and protected under some local Special Branch protection program or away overseas, where they could live their lives in the lap of luxury.
So, what went so wrong that evidence had to be planted, implicating Sirul as if caught with the smoking gun in his hand?
It must be that the so-called more intelligent conspirators higher up the chain did not anticipate that Azilah and Sirul would be so careless as to appear at Baginda’s house with an uninvolved fellow cop (Lance Corporal Rohaniza) and without ensuring Altantuya would be alone there when they whisked her away. They might have felt that they could buy PI Bala out, if push came to shove.
Later, they moved quickly to ensure that Rohaniza would change her testimony from her sworn statement given to the DPP. She lied on the stand that Azilah did not depart with Sirul and Altantuya from Bukit Aman, but left with him, thereby cooking Sirul’s goose completely.
Baginda’s lap top was only “discovered” in his car by his wife and handed over to the police some five days after they first interrogated him! They pressed the buttons to change judges, prosecutors and lawyers. But, how could they have hoped to ward off the obvious missing-persons report that Altantuya’s family would file?
Altantuya’s father was a university professor, and her mother, a Russian language teacher. They were no country yokels from the boondocks of a third-world economy.
It was sub-standard strategizing and planning from start to finish. Azilah and Sirul botched it further. The primary aim of the conspirators was to prevent Altantuya from leaking out publicly that the father of the child she was expecting was someone very high up in defence or at the uppermost echelon of government, or both! Whose child was it that was murdered so heartlessly, blasted to smithereens before it could take one breath of fresh air, before being born to celebrate and enjoy its birth right?
But how did the blood-stained items appear so unerringly to incriminate Sirul? Sirul must have got it wrong. It is likely that he handed his blood-stained jacket and jewellery and spent bullet cartridges immediately after the murder to Azilah or a more senior killer cop who was on the scene, for disposal. And that proved to be his undoing. These blood-stained items incriminated Sirul like nothing else. They helped the conspirators to spin successfully a prosecution which from day one had publicly announced that the murder was the action of two rogue cops, that Azilah and Sirul were the only killers (with Baginda abetting them) involved in Altantuya’s murder, and that the questions of motive and prior knowledge or association with Altantuya was irrelevant.
And Razak Baginda knows this all. He knows this all as surely as he knows the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Otherwise, his PhD is not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Following Azilah and Sirul’s conviction at the Federal Court, the indecent haste with which Baginda attempted to convince the masses that two rogue cops committed unpremeditated murder with no motive whatsoever, or that motive was not essential at all, is a clear indication of his desperation in wanting to bury this conspiracy forever. More than that, once again he wanted to absolve PM Najib and distance him from Altantuya in the most loathsome, nauseous and toadying of manner.
Baginda when asked what Altantuya was blackmailing him about, replied, “There was some personal matter, the relationship. This is something very personal.” He went on to say:
Q: What about the alleged US$500,000 commission (from the submarine deal)?
RB: Where did that come from? That's the thing. Everybody is lazy now days, journalists, everybody is lazy. They never check the source. Trace where the US$500,000 came from.
Q: It was mentioned in Bala's first statutory declaration.
RB: OK, anybody can say that. (Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho! Not anybody, but Private Detective Bala who was engaged by Baginda himself for protection from the blackmailing Altantuya). Where did that come from? Honestly the US$500,000 was news to me. I didn't know that. She (Altantuya) was blackmailing me for US$5,000, US$8,000. That's why I succumbed to it. Q: No fee for her services as interpreter? RB: What interpreter fee? The whole episode of her being an interpreter is a joke. She can't even speak French. We are all victims of a political game. And we all fell right into it. It's a narrative from the beginning – the murder, Najib, Razak and then the submarine deal. This narrative was fed to the Malaysian public from day one and everyone like a herd of buffaloes, followed. Trace and see if she can speak a word of French. None of the French guys in the submarine deal met her or knew her. The French were so sophisticated. They all speak perfect English. Nobody questioned. Why would you want a Mongolian French interpreter? Think about it. If I wanted an interpreter, I would have a French interpreter or a British-French interpreter. Why on earth would I want a Mongolian? Has she ever been to France and stayed and learnt French? And yet everybody believed she was an interpreter of French and she got paid. Nobody questioned that.
Q: In Bala's first SD, there was another allegation that Najib introduced Altantuya to you.
RB: That's part of the narrative. I have said this hundreds of times. I don't even know how to say it anymore. Najib never knew the woman. Najib is innocent. If you all think there is a connection, where is the evidence? Let's not forget that in any situation like this, there are a lot of opportunists out there. We have seen this so many times.
Q: How did you come to know Altantuya?
RB: If I know Najib, it doesn't mean that he knows everything about me. But the assumption is that he knows everything I do. I think that is a wrong assumption. I have already said it in my affidavit and that is the truth. The truth hurt my family and there was a debate among my legal team if I should put it in. I even told how I met her. It's all there (in the affidavit).
Q: So are you rubbishing Bala's first SD?
RB: All utter rubbish. Anal sex as well. All rubbish. Everyone took the SD as the truth. Furthermore, in the SD, Bala says: "someone told me" or "I told him". It's all hearsay.
Q: Who is behind all this (narrative)?
RB: Dracula, vampire, werewolf, you name it... My favourite character has always been Dracula.
Q: The main aim then was to implicate Najib?
RB: Yes, of course.
Q: And you were also the victim?
RB: No, I wouldn't say I was a victim. There was a murder that took place and because I had a connection in the whole thing, and it's just too juicy a story to let go. There are a lot of opportunists out there. And don't forget, Najib at that point was deputy prime minister, and in this country of ours, the DPM is a heartbeat away from becoming the PM. Everyone knew he had the potential of being the PM.
And there we have it, why PM Najib and his wife could not in any way be implicated in Altantuya’s murder. Why PI Bala’s first SD had to be neutralised and rubbished quickly by Najib and Rosmah as revealed by Deepak, and he, his wife and children hounded out of their native birthplace to India. Najib had already been humiliatingly once denied the premiership by Mahathir in 2003 in favour of Abdullah Badawi, and over which a shocked Rosmah shed tears in public. Standing on the cusp of a kind of immortality, Najib and Rosmah would not be denied the ultimate prize a second time or be shamed and scandalised out of it in the process, come hell or high water!
High Court, Court of Appeal, Federal Court – Who’s The Odd Man Out?
Of the three, the decision by the Court of Appeal would seem to be the odd one out.
The CoA did not follow the script which was written before the case went to the High Court. It now seems obvious. Before the High Court case could commence, Putrajaya conspired with the CJ and AG and to get rid of the two most senior prosecutors in the land from leading the government’s case, i.e. DPP Salehudin Saidin and Yusof Zainal Abiden. The flimsiest of excuses was put forward by the AG to explain what was apparent to everyone, i.e. that it was a clear case of manipulation by two top law enforcement officials. The only reason Salehudinand Yusof were removed must be that they would not agree to any deal; their integrity and name was at stake in the murder trial of the century.
The deal must have been to free Baginda at the High Court stage and convict Azilahand Sirul, and to limit the prosecution to these three persons, no more, no less. After all, someone had to pay for murder, and it was not going to be Najib’s blue-eyed boy and St. John’s Institution Alumni pal, Baginda, who knew some nasty secret or two about stupendous corruption involving Putrajaya, and could name names. Better two unknown cops whom the public at large would eventually forget, and who knows, with the passage of time, might yet be rescued or be given a royal pardon. So, the masquerade with Azilah and Sirul donning muslin masks and hooded jackets, so wonderfully supported by the police and Judge Zaki.
Not an inch was to be given to implicate Deputy Prime Minister Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor or allow the case to enmesh the RM7.5 billion (US$2.3 billion or €1.5 billion) Scorpene submarines contract or gratuitous, sinecure and sham “co-ordination and support services” fee of RM575 million (US$180 million or €115 million) earned by Baginda’s company or the RM142 million ((US$44 million or €36 million) said to have been paid to his company for selling classified state secrets to a French government-owned naval company, DCNS.
Treason? Not if it is one of us, an old boy!
Judge Zaki stuck to the bargain. The AG stuck to the plot by refusing to appeal Baginda’s acquittal. When Azilah and Sirul appealed, the CJ and AG slipped up. They must have thought that the COA judges knew the script, theme and plot, and would throw the appeal out. However, inexplicably, the COA acquitted Azilah and Sirul. What possessed the three CoA judges? Moral outrage, more than likely. Why should Baginda, who was the only one of the three defendants to have real money and a real motive to wish Altantuya dead, get off scot-free, and the AG not even appeal the decision? So, they threw a spanner in the works.
But, the CoA did not go far enough. They had only so much courage. In a land where straight Chief Justices have been thrown into sacrificial fires with impunity by the Executive, and crooked ones rewarded with security of tenure and fabulous post-retirements rewards,what were mere CoA judges? They should have ordered a fresh re-trial when there was so much doubt, and made Baginda enter his defence, which would at the very least have forced DSP Musa Safri, Najib’s chief of security, to the stand. But all that was not to be.
The partial courage of the CoA was undone by the complete capitulation of the Chief Justice of Malaysia, Arifin Zakaria, and his 5-man Federal Court, to Putrajaya. The courage of the CoA was matched by the gutlessness and treasonous conduct of CJ Arifin Zakaria and his kangaroo court. Once they knew in advance the decision that was expected of them, it was child’s play to find all the “defects” in the CoA’s written judgement, and placate Putrajaya’s paranoia.
Then came the warning from that bully and coward, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, to the public about questioning the motive for Altantuya’s murder, saying that it would undermine the judiciary. In recent weeks, Khalid has outdone even Mahathir by arresting over a hundred people, mainly opposition politicians, for alleged sedition, and in the process usurped thepowers of the Home and Prime Minister who have been supremely supine. Khalid has, however, not exhibited or demonstrated that same enthusiasm, speed and vigour in pursuing pro-government politicians and supporters who have made incendiary statements such as referring to Chinese traders as rogues or calling for the burning of bibles or churning out a completely spurious story that some Chinese were burning the Koran.
CJ Arifin Zakaria, not to be outdone, then warned the public about contempt of court proceedings against anyone who undermines the judiciary. The rot had set in, marrow deep, long, long ago.
To be continued - A Theory of Murder.