Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bala's statement on Altantuya murder

On July 3 2008 private investigator Balasubramaniam created a controversy when he announce his sworn affidavit on the murder of Altantuya. The 2 part video of the press conference by Anwar Ibrahim and his lawyers  after his announcement is posted below :

Jul 3 2008 :

 Najib , then the DPM had immediately denied knowing Altantuya. Reading out from a prepared statement at a packed press conference in Parliament he reiterated that he had never met or knew Altantuya. He dismissed the statutory declaration filed by private eye P Balasubramaniam, who was hired by Najib's close associate Abdul Razak Baginda to deal with the Altantuya problem, as "concocted" claims.

However on  the next day Jul 4,  Bala  withdrew his first affidavit and issued a second one at a media conference before disappearing with his family.

It is already 2 years past and the latest news the last few weeks were MACC's efforts to interview Bala at London on July 5-6 this year.
Just barely a week before the said interview, on 30 Jun  MACC's  Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdul announced they  will not record Bala's statement in London as the Attorney-General's Chambers said that the statement would not be admissable in court. The AG's office had instead advise that under Section 30 of the MACC Act 2009, they are empowered to get a sworn affidavit from a witness and this can be presented in court as evidence. 
MACC advisory board member Tan Sri Najmuddin Megat said there was no need for commission officers to interview the private investigator in London as he is not a suspect, “Since Bala is willing to talk to MACC and tell his side of the story, he can return to Malaysia and give his statement”. He further added MACC should not incur expenses conducting these in London saying,  “Why should MACC pay for air tickets and accommodation for this?”
The commission would instead send a letter to Balasubramaniam's lawyer on Jul 2,  listing its questions and asking for the answers to be provided in the form of an affidavit.
This was a complete change and flip-flop from the earlier decision.
Najimuddin Megat  is naive to think that Bala will return to Malaysia to give his statement. Bala is worried that he'd "disappear or possibly eliminated" within days or even hours of his touch down;  then there will be years of investigation again to uncovered his "missing" problem.
His stupid reason of expenses is just another excuse. Our government spends more of our money uselessly through inflated payments to suppliers and contractors - just check with the Public Accounts report the last few years. What is a few thousand ringgit for justice and MACC can always take up Bala's lawyers offer to absorb all the expenses.

Dear Prime Minister Najib - You should and must ensure a FAIR investigation into Bala's claims. This is necessary to absolve yourself from this murder case. For the time being, we will judge you  innocent until proven guilty.  Do not allow the opposition to use this as a weapon against you and Barisan. Most importantly, you represent Malaysia and such claims if continue unresolved will only tarnish Malaysia's image.

Raja Petra had postulated the reasons why MACC had decided not to go to London - excerpts from his post :
The reason why MACC wanted to make the room arrangements is because they wanted the entire session to be confidential and covered by Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. This means Bala would not be allowed to reveal what transpired during his meeting with MACC. And they were also worried that if Bala’s lawyers arranged for the meeting room they may plant bugs to record his session with MACC.
What MACC failed to realise is that you no longer need to plant bugs in the meeting room. You can record whatever transpires from another building across the road or from a parked van outside the building. And you can zero in and pick up exactly what you want without too much interference from other goings-on.
Anyway, up to yesterday, MACC did not contact Holiday Villa about the booking of the meeting room. Bala’s lawyer then wrote to MACC telling them that since they have not made any booking then the booking will be done on their behalf. The lawyer also wrote to Holiday Villa to inform them that the meeting room is being booked on behalf of MACC and that MACC would be paying for it.
That was when MACC decided to announce that the session has been aborted.
MACC wanted to impose Malaysian laws under the Official Secrets Act and Anti-Corruption Act on Bala. But these laws can’t be enforced in the UK and in the UK you just can’t deny a person legal representation or stifle information, as there is a Freedom of Information Act.
What MACC wanted to do was to have a secret or confidential meeting with Bala without the presence of his lawyers and then go back to Malaysia and announce that they have taken Bala’s statement and have found nothing to incriminate Najib or his family in any criminal act. This would work only if no one else knows what Bala told MACC. But if the interview were to be made public or Bala’s lawyers were also in the meeting then this would not work.
MACC wanted three days with Bala -- 5th, 6th and 7th July. But Bala’s lawyers were going to give MACC only two days because on the third day, 7th July, they were going to hold a press conference to inform the world what MACC asked Bala and what Bala replied over those two days.
MACC wanted the interview embargoed and the last thing they need is for Bala and his three lawyers to hold a press conference on the third day and pass documents, evidence and tape recordings to the media.
MACC realised that a trap had been laid and they were walking right into it. They tried to determine the ‘rules of engagement’ but discovered that these rules will only apply in Malaysia and not in the UK.

The safest thing, therefore, would be to call off the session with Bala.

Listed below the sequence of events of this Bala saga after Jul 3, 2008 :

Year  2008 :
Jul 4 : Private investigator P Balasubramaniam today retracted his stunning statutory declaration which had linked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu. Bala's lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu denied that Balas affirmed his first sworn statement under duress. PKR vice-president R Sivarasa said that Bala's sudden retraction of his allegations against Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may have been due to intimidation or inducement. 
Jul 5 : Najib Abdul Razak has denied speculations that he was behind the retraction of private investigator P Balasubramaniam's first statutory declaration (SD) which had linked him with a murdered Mongolian woman.
Jul 7 : Bala's nephew R Kumaresan and his brother Segar said the missing private investigator and his family might be held against their will. Jul 8 : Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar gave his assurance that Bala will get police protection if he feels that his life is under threat. Bala has finally broken his silence and made contact with his nephew R Kumaresan late previous night via a short telephone call. He said he was okay, but could not talk...
Jul 10 : Bukit Aman CID chief Mohd Bakri said the police said they were not involved in the disappearance of Bala and vowed to probe the private investigator's two contradictory statutory declarations.
Bala asked his nephew R Kumaresan to stop the ongoing campaign for his safe return as this could endanger him and his family.

Year 2009 :

Nov 13 - Nov 14 : News of the missing Bala surfaced when a 3 part video interview  by his lawyers were released on the internet. The video was recorded in Jul 2008. His lawyers said : "
Let me assure you that P Balasubramaniam has already undergone rigorous 'cross examination' by three senior lawyers, including myself, before these interviews were held. We are all more than satisfied that what he is saying is the truth...His motive has nothing to do with financial gain for obvious reasons. His financial lifeline has now been severed. There can therefore be no issue of blackmail. If what he has said is untrue, then the silence of those he has accused remains deafening".

The release of this video interview had prompted more questions of his whereabouts and the possibility he was still in the country. Calls for his arrest were made as in the video he had made two conflicting statutory declarations and his confession of receiving an offer of RM5 million to withdraw his first affidavit.

Part 1 :

Part 2 :

Part 3 :

Nov 20 : Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda held his first press conference since his acquittal from the Altantunya Shaariibuu murder case.
Nov 21 : Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar revealed that the police last met 'missing' private investigator S Balasubramaniam in Bangkok on July 7.

Just few days earlier on Nov 16 , Raja Petra had posted in his blog Malaysia Today  his 5-part interview with Bala asking him on what had really happened in the 48 hours after Bala unveiled his first SD on 3 Jul.
Nov 17 : Part 2 - Bala tells of how he was made to sign a second statutory declaration and bundled out of the country. He reveals how after a press conference, he and his family were allegedly taken to Bangkok and then to Singapore and finally Chennai, India.
Nov 18 : Part 3 - Bala tells of how he was made to sign a second statutory and  he revealed how the Malaysian police questioned him in Bangkok. The focus was on the first statutory declaration. He said the police had asked him which of the two statutory declarations was true and when he replied the first, one of the officers shook his hand and commended him on his courage.
Nov19 : Part 4 - Bala tells of the hardships he faced being forced to live away from home.  He also revealed that he had returned to Malaysia several times this year without going through immigration.
Nov 20 : Part 5 -  Bala tells that the Prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor was “very happy” with him for retracting his first statutory declaration which implicated her and Najib Razak in Altantuya’s murder. He added that Rosmah had wanted to have breakfast with him.

Nov 25 :
Excerpt from MalaysiaKini interview with Bala's lawyer , Americk Singh :

Any reasonable person would draw the conclusion that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is somehow linked to the disappearance of P Balasubramaniam, according to the private investigator’s lawyer. “The facts seem to point to the possibility that they wanted him out of the way and delegated this job to others close to them to execute,” said Americk Singh Sidhu (left) in an interview with Malaysiakini. “As matters stand, I am concerned about the involvement of Nazim (Razak), Najib’s younger brother. The question is why would he have an interest in Bala’s disappearance if it were not to protect his brother?” asked Americk.
Balasubramaniam recently emerged from hiding to reveal that he had met Nazim, an architect, the night before he made a dramatic reversal and recanted his first statutory declaration in which he alleged that Najib had close ties with murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu. Balasubramaniam also claimed that he was offered RM5 million by one Deepak, a businessman close to Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, to retract his first statutory declaration. Najib had repeatedly denied speculations that he was behind Balasubramaniam’s retraction. In the interview, Americk recounted how he was introduced to Balasubramaniam, on his reaction to the retraction of Balasuubramaniam’s first statutory declaration and his subsequent meeting with the former police officer after he emerged from hiding a year later.
The lawyer also revealed that the video recording of his interview with Balasubramaniam three months ago was secretly taken as an “insurance in the event he was apprehended by the parties involved in his departure from this country over a year ago”. “He did not know he was being filmed at that time but we did inform him of this later and he understood why we did it,” said Americk. According to him, while Balasubramaniam may have committed an offence under the Statutory Declarations Act 1960 for giving conflicting statutory declarations, he could nevertheless defend himself against the charge as it “would appear he was coerced, intimidated and/or forced to sign the second statutory declaration under duress”. But those who allegedly instigated the swearing of the false second statutory declaration – Deepak, one ASP Suresh and lawyer M Arunampalam – are also liable to criminal charges for abetment and conspiracy, added Americk. “In so far as Nazim is concerned, he was involved in criminal intimidation of Bala besides a possibility of being roped into the abetment/conspiracy charges arising from the creation of the second false statutory declaration.”

Nov 26 :  Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said he  is not involved in the latest twist to P Bala's sensational allegations against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. DAP's Lim Kit Siang said the prime minister should stop trying to ignore allegations of his involvement in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya.
Dec 3 : MACC to probe allegations of Bala receiving bribes to change his first SD and Najib's brother role in it.
Dec 4 : MACC requests help from PKR to locate private eye P Balasubramaniam and bring him to their office.This was revealed by the party's Youth chief Shamsul Iskander. Prime Minister Najib finally broke his silence and denied allegations that his younger brother Mohamed Nazim had coerced private investigator P Bala to hush up. 
 Dec 15 : Bala announced he is prepared to assist MACC with investigations into the alleged cover-up of the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya

Year 2010 :
Jan 13 : New MACC head Abu Kassim Mohamed said they are  willing to meet private investigator P Balasubramaniam anywhere and anytime to record his statement.
Mar 16 : MACC reiterated that it is prepared to meet Bala wherever and whenever he is comfortable to be interviewed.  
Apr 13 : MACC said it is willing to meet private detective Bala  either in Malaysia or foreign embassies to record his statement.  
Apr 19 : MACC assured Bala he will not be arrested as it just wanted to record his statement to enable it to conclude investigations into the murder case.  
May 20 : Bala through a letter, said he was still waiting to be interviewed by the MACC and reiterated he was ready, willing and able to do so .  
May 22 : MACC announced they are ready to record a statement from Bala  in London.  
May 24 : Lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon has rubbished claims by MACC  that it was prepared to meet his client, P Balasubramaniam, much earlier than the stipulated July date.  
May 25 : Lawyers representing Bala have offer an all expenses paid trip to MACC to interview their client in London this July.
May 27: Almost a week after, the MACC had yet to come out with a statement confirming and  agreeing to meet P Bala in London.  
Jun 25 : MACC officers will leave for Britain in mid-July to interview private investigator P Bala on the Altantuya murder case.  
Jun 28 : All is set for MACC to record a statement from private investigator P Bala next week. His lawyers will be allowed to be present during questioning. 
 Jul 2 : MACC director of investigation, Mustafar Ali said he has submitted questions in the form of a sworn statement or affidavit to P. Bala through his lawyer, to be answered by the private investigator.

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