More Twists in Malaysian Murder Trial
One of Malaysia’s most powerful politicians has been tied to murdered Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu in court documents filed by a private investigator who had been protecting one of the men accused in the case before her disappearance. A statutory declaration filed with a Kuala Lumpur court by the investigator alleges that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak not only knew the murdered woman but had an affair with her, was involved in her disappearance and introduced her to Abdul Razak Baginda, the man who is now on trial for her murder.
The court declaration by P Balasubramaniam, a private investigator and retired policeman hired by Razak Baginda, was made public by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently under fire from charges that he raped a male member of his office. The counterattack by Anwar on Najib, one of his staunchest critics, raises the heat in the country’s current battle for power as the resurgent opposition tries to unseat the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition that has governed the country since independence in 1957.
The Altantuya murder, with its long-rumored ties to Najib, has been a tantalizing target for government foes, who until now have been unable to get Najib officially linked to the case. In the declaration, Balasubramaniam’s declaration makes Najib an integral part of the case, something most of Malaysia’s top government and judicial officials have been seeking to avoid ever since Razak went on trial in June 2006 along with two of Najib’s bodyguards for the gruesome murder. The 28-year-old Mongolian woman was shot twice in the head and her body dumped in a patch of jungle near the suburban city of Shah Alam before she was blown up with explosives.
The declaration was made by the investigator because of his “disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.” Balasubramaniam wrote that he wanted the “relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the Court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions [sic] case.”
While part of the court record, the declaration, which is a written statement signed by the person making it who declares it to be true before a person authorized to take declarations, was not given under formal oath.
In the declaration Balasubramaniam, who was hired to help Razak deal with the woman, said he repeatedly tried to get Razak to have Altantuya arrested for harassment, but that he refused to do so. Razak, he said, told him that she had “been given powers by a Mongolian ‘bomoh’ [spirit doctor] and that he could never look her in the face because of this.”
Razak told Balasubramaniam he had been introduced to Altantuya “by a VIP…who asked him to look after her financially.” According to the statement, he was becoming concerned that he could be harmed personally and that his daughter needed to be protected also. There followed a series of visits by Altantuya and two friends from Mongolia to Razak’s office and home.
Balasubramaniam wrote that on October 14, five days before she disappeared, “Aminah [Altantuya’s nickname] turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights when I was not there. Abdul Razak Baginda called me on my handphone to inform me of this so I rushed back to his house.
“As I arrived, I noticed Aminah outside the front gates shouting, ‘Razak, bastard, come out from the house.’ I tried to calm her down but couldn’t so I called the police who arrived in two patrol cars. I explained the situation to the police, who took her away to the Brickfields police station.”
At that point, the woman told Balasubramaniam to deliver a note to Razak demanding US$500,000.00 and three tickets to Mongolia “apparently as commission owed to Aminah from a deal in Paris.” [Najib and Razak have long been under fire for a reported US$111 million commission that Abdul Razak took through a company he owned that was linked to the US$1 billion purchase of three submarines by the Malaysian military from the French military.]
The police urged the warring parties to settle the affair amicably, according to the declaration. They returned to Razak’s house, where Razak then told Balasubramaniam that Najib had introduced him to Altantuya at a diamond exhibition in Singapore and that Najib had had a sexual relationship with her in the past. Razak was to look after the woman because Najib “did not want her to harass him since he was now the Deputy Prime Minister.”
The document also purports to confirm long-reported rumors that Najib, Razak and Altantuya had been at a dinner in Paris during the time when the submarine transaction was being negotiated. During the trial, a cousin of Altantuya’s said she had seen a picture of the three at dinner, but the prosecution and defense both refused to take the matter further.
On October 19, the night she disappeared, Balasubramaniam claimed that Altantuya told him that she had met Razak in Singapore with Najib, that she was promised US$500,000 as a commission for assisting in the submarine transaction and that Razak had purchased a house for her in Mongolia. She also said that her brother had refinanced the house and she needed money to get back the property. She also claimed that Razak had married her in South Korea.
In the declaration, the investigator said that shortly after that conversation a red Proton car appeared with a woman and two men, whom he identified as female officer Lance Corporal Rohaniza and Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar, the two bodyguards who worked for Najib and are now on trial. All three were in plain clothes and they took the woman away. Balasubramaniam said he thought she was being arrested.
“They drove off and that is the last I ever saw of Aminah,” the private investigator wrote.
On October 24, he wrote, “Abdul Razak Baginda instructed me to accompany him to the Brickfields police station as he had been advised to lodge a police report about the harassment he was receiving from these Mongolian girls.”
She was already dead.
In the document, the private investigator said he himself was arrested and held for seven days over the issue, during which time, “I told them all I knew including everything Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had told me about their relationships with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but when I came to sign my statement, these details had been left out. “
In the trial, when he was asked to give evidence, he said, “the prosecutor did not ask me any questions in respect of Aminah’s relationship with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.”
On the day Razak was arrested, he said, “I was with him at his lawyers office at 6:30 am. Abdul Razak Baginda informed us that he had sent Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak an SMS the evening before as he refused to believe he was to be arrested, but had not received a response.
A short time later, the declaration said, Razak received an SMS from Najib that read: “matter will be solved… be cool.”
I, Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal a Malaysian Citizen of full age and residing at [deleted] do solemly and sincerely declare as follows :-
1. I have been a police officer with the Royal Malaysian Police Force having jointed as a constable in 1981 attached to the Police Field Force. I was then promoted to the rank of lance Corporal and finally resigned from the Police Force in 1998 when I was with the Special Branch.
2. I have been working as a free lance Private Investigator since I left the Police Force.
3. Sometime in June or July 2006, I was employed by Abdul Razak Baginda for a period of 10 days to look after him at his office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang between the hours of 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m each working day as apparently he was experiencing disturbances from a third party.
4. I resigned from this job after 2 ½ days as I was not receiving any proper instructions.
5. I was however re-employed by Abdul Razak Baginda on the 05-10-2006 as he had apparently received a harassing phone call from a Chinese man calling himself ASP Tan who had threatened him to pay his debts. I later found out this gentleman was in fact a private investigator called Ang who was employed by a Mongolian woman called Altantuya Shaaribuu.
6. Abdul Razak Baginda was concerned that a person by the name of Altantuya Shaaribuu, a Mongolian woman, was behind this threat and that she would be arriving in Malaysia very soon to try and contact him.
7. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that he was concerned by this as he had been advised that Altantuya Shaaribuu had been given some powers by a Mongolian ‘bomoh’ and that he could never look her in the face because of this.
8. When I enquired as to who this Mongolian woman was, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that she was a friend of his who had been introduced to him by a VIP and who asked him to look after her financially.
9. I advised him to lodge a police report concerning the threatening phone call he had received from the Chinese man known as ASP Tan but he refused to do so as he informed me there were some high profile people involved.
10. Abdul Razak Baginda further told me that Altantuya Shaaribuu was a great liar and good in convincing people. She was supposed to have been very demanding financially and that he had even financed a property for her in Mongolia.
11. Abdul Razak Baginda then let me listen to some voice messages on his handphone asking him to pay what was due otherwise he would be harmed and his daughter harassed.
12. I was therefore supposed to protect his daughter Rowena as well.
13. On the 09.10.2006 I received a phone call from Abdul Razak Baginda at about 9.30 a.m. informing me that Altantuya was in his office and he wanted me there immediately. As I was in the midst of a surveillance, I sent my assistant Suras to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office and I followed a little later. Suras managed to control the situation and had persuaded Altantuya and her two friends to leave the premises. However Altantuya left a note written on some Hotel Malaya note paper, in English, asking Abdul Razak Baginda to call her on her handphone (number given) and wrote down her room number as well.
14. Altantuya had introduced herself to Suras as ‘Aminah’ and had informed Suras she was there to see her boyfriend Abdul Razak Baginda.
15. These 3 Mongolian girls however returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang again, the next day at about 12.00 noon. They did not enter the building but again informed Suras that they wanted to meet Aminah’s boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda.
16. On the 11.10.2006, Aminah returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office on her own and gave me a note to pass to him, which I did. Abdul Razak Baginda showed me the note which basically asked him to call her urgently.
17. I suggested to Abdul Razak Baginda that perhaps it may be wise to arrange for Aminah to be arrested if she harassed him further, but he declined as he felt she would have to return to Mongolia as soon as her cash ran out.
18. In the meantime I had arranged for Suras to perform surveillance on Hotel Malaya to monitor the movements of these 3 Mongolian girls, but they recognized him. Apparently they become friends with Suras after that and he ended up spending a few nights in their hotel room.
19. When Abdul Razak Baginda discovered Suras was becoming close to Aminah he asked me to pull him out from Hotel Malaya.
20. On the 14.10.2006, Aminah turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights when I was not there. Abdul Razak Baginda called me on my handphone to inform me of this so I rushed back to his house. As I arrived, I noticed Aminah outside the front gates shouting “Razak, bastard, come out from the house”. I tried to calm her down but couldn’t so I called the police who arrived in 2 patrol cars. I explained the situation to the police, who took her away to the Brickfields police station.
21. I followed the patrol cars to Brickfields police station in a taxi. I called Abdul Razak Baginda and his lawyer Dirren to lodge a police report but they refused.
22. When I was at the Brickfields police station, Aminah’s own Private Investigator, one Mr. Ang arrived and we had a discussion. I was told to deliver a demand to Abdul Razak Baginda for USD$500,000.00 and 3 tickets to Mongolia, apparently as commission owed to Aminah from a deal in Paris.
23. As Aminah had calmed down at this stage, a policewoman at the Brickfields police station advised me to leave and settle the matter amicably.
24. I duly informed Abdul Razak Baginda of the demands Aminah had made and told him I was disappointed that no one wanted to back me up in lodging a police report. We had a long discussion about the situation when I expressed a desire to pull out of this assignment.
25. During this discussion and in an attempt to persuade me to continue my employment with him, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that :-
25.1 He had been introduced to Aminah by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.
25.2 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak informed Abdul Razak Baginda that he had a sexual relationship with Aminah and that [deleted by nat out of respect to the family of the deceased].
25.3 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted Abdul Razak Baginda to look after Aminah as he did not want her to harass him since he was now the Deputy Prime Minister.
25.4 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had all been together at a dinner in Paris.
25.5 Aminah wanted money from him as she felt she was entitled to a USD$500,000.00 commission on a submarine deal she assisted with in Paris.
26. On the 19.10.2006, I arrived at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights to begin my night duty. I had parked my car outside as usual. I saw a yellow proton perdana taxi pass by with 3 ladies inside, one of whom was Aminah. The taxi did a U-turn and stopped in front of the house where these ladies rolled down the window and wished me ‘Happy Deepavali’. The taxi then left.
27. About 20 minutes later the taxi returned with only Aminah in it. She got out of the taxi and walked towards me and started talking to me. I sent an SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda informing him “Aminah was here”. I received an SMS from Razak instructing me “To delay her until my man comes”.
28. Whist I was talking to Aminah, she informed me of the following :-
28.1 That she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Singapore with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
28.2 That she had also met Abdul Razak Baginda and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a dinner in Paris.
28.3 That she was promised a sum of USD$500,000.00 as commission for assisting in a Submarine deal in Paris.
28.4 That Abdul Razak Baginda had bought her a house in Mongolia but her brother had refinanced it and she needed money to redeem it.
28.5 That her mother was ill and she needed money to pay for her treatment.
6. That Abdul Razak Baginda had married her in Korea as her mother is Korean whilst her father was a Mongolian/Chinese mix.
28.7 That if I wouldn’t allow her to see Abdul Razak Baginda, would I be able to arrange for her to see Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
29. After talking to Aminah for about 15 minutes, a red proton aeroback arrived with a woman and two men. I now know the woman to be Lance Corporal Rohaniza and the men, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar. They were all in plain clothes. Azilah walked towards me while the other two stayed in the car.
30. Azilah asked me whether the woman was Aminah and I said ‘Yes’. He then walked off and made a few calls on his handphone. After 10 minutes another vehicle, a blue proton saga, driven by a Malay man, passed by slowly. The drivers window had been wound down and the driver was looking at us.
31. Azilah then informed me they would be taking Aminah away. I informed Aminah they were arresting her. The other two persons then got out of the red proton and exchanged seats so that Lance Corporal Rohaniza and Aminah were in the back while the two men were in the front. They drove off and that is the last I ever saw of Aminah.
32. Abdul Razak Baginda was not at home when all this occurred.
33. After the 19.10.2006, I continued to work for Abdul Razak Baginda at his house in Damansara Heights from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m. the next morning, as he had been receiving threatening text messages from a woman called ‘Amy’ who was apparently ‘Aminah’s’ cousin in Mongolia.
34. On the night of the 20.10.2006, both of Aminah’s girl friends turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house enquiring where Aminah was. I informed them she had been arrested the night before.
35. A couple of nights later, these two Mongolian girls, Mr. Ang and another Mongolian girl called ‘Amy’ turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house looking for Aminah as they appeared to be convinced she was being held in the house.
36. A commotion began so I called the police who arrived shortly thereafter in a patrol car. Another patrol car arrived a short while later in which was the investigating officer from the Dang Wangi Police Station who was in charge of the missing persons report lodged by one of the Mongolians girls, I believe was Amy.
37. I called Abdul Razak Baginda who was at home to inform him of the events taking place at his front gate. He then called DSP Musa Safri and called me back informing me that Musa Safri would be calling handphone and I was to pass the phone to the Inspector from Dang Wangi Police Station.
38. I then received a call on my handphone from Musa Safri and duly handed the phone to the Dang Wangi Inspector. The conversation lasted 3 – 4 minutes after which he told the girls to disperse and to go to see him the next day.
39. On or about the 24.10.2006, Abdul Razak Baginda instructed me to accompany him to the Brickfields police station as he had been advised to lodge a police report about the harassment he was receiving from these Mongolian girls.
40. Before this, Amy had sent me an SMS informing me she was going to Thailand to lodge a report with the Mongolian consulate there regarding Aminah’s disappearance. Apparently she had sent the same SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda. This is why he told me he had been advised to lodge a police report.
41. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that DPS Musa Safri had introduced him to one DSP Idris, the head of the Criminal division, Brickfields police station, and that Idris had referred him to ASP Tonny.
42. When Abdul Razak Baginda had lodged his police report at Brickfields police station, in front of ASP Tonny, he was asked to make a statement but he refused as he said he was leaving for overseas. He did however promise to prepare a statement and hand ASP Tonny a thumb drive. I know that this was not done as ASP Tonny told me.
43. However ASP Tonny asked me the next day to provide my statement instead and so I did.
44. I stopped working for Abdul Razak Baginda on the 26.10.2006 as this was the day he left for Hong Kong on his own.
45. In mid November 2006, I received a phone call from ASP Tonny from the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah asking me to see him regarding Aminah’s case. When I arrived there I was immediately arrested under S.506 of the Penal Code for Criminal intimidation.
46. I was then placed in the lock up and remanded for 5 days. On the third day I was released on police bail.
47. At the end of November 2006, the D9 department of the IPK sent a detective to my house to escort me to the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah. When I arrived, I was told I was being arrested under S.302 of the Penal Code for murder. I was put in the lock up and remanded for 7 days.
48. I was transported to Bukit Aman where I was interrogated and questioned about an SMS I had received from Abdul Razak Baginda on the 19.10.2006 which read “delay her until my man arrives”. They had apparently retrieved this message from Abdul Razak Baginda’s handphone.
49. They then proceeded to record my statement from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. everyday for 7 consecutive days. I told them all I knew including everything Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had told me about their relationships with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but when I came to sign my statement, these details had been left out.
50. I have given evidence in the trial of Azilah, Sirul and Abdul Razak Baginda at the Shah Alam High Court. The prosecutor did not ask me any questions in respect of Aminah’s relationship with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or of the phone call I received from DSP Musa Safri, whom I believe was the ADC for Datuk Seri Najib Razak and/or his wife.
51. On the day Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested, I was with him at his lawyers office at 6.30 a.m. Abdul Razak Baginda informed us that he had sent Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak an SMS the evening before as he refused to believe he was to be arrested, but had not received a response.
52. Shortly thereafter, at about 7.30 a.m., Abdul Razak Baginda received an SMS from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and showed, this message to both myself and his lawyer. This message read as follows :- “ I am seeing IGP at 11.00 a.m. today …… matter will be solved … be cool”.
53. I have been made to understand that Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested the same morning at his office in the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang.
54. The purpose of this Statutory declaration is to :-
54.1 State my disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.
54.2 Bring to the notice of the relevant authorities the strong possibility that there are individuals other than the 3 accused who must have played a role in the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.
54.3 Persuade the relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the Court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions case.
54.4 Emphasize the fact that having been a member of the Royal Malaysian Police Force for 17 years I am absolutely certain no police officer would shoot someone in the head and blow up their body without receiving specific instructions from their superiors first.
54.5. Express my concern that should the defence not be called in the said murder trial, the accused, Azilah and Sirul will not have to swear on oath and testify as to the instructions they received and from whom they were given.
55. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.
SUBCRIBED and solemnly )
declared by the abovenamed )
Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal ]
this day of 2008 )
Commissioner for Oath