Activists pack SUARAM office as CCM conducts raid: We're being harassed for Scorpenes

Activists pack SUARAM office as CCM conducts raid: We're being harassed for Scorpenes
Amid concerns that Prime Minister Najib Razak might be trying to seize documents related to the French Scorpene trial, officers from the Companies Commission Malaysia returned to the premises of human rights group SUARAM and demanded to check its its financial books.
The SUARAM office was packed with activists who had come to help keep an eagle on the CCM officers. Three SSM officers finally turned up at around 6.00pm. They served notices on the firm under which SUARAM operated.
"SUARAM full of people now and waiting for SSM.. The solidarity from fellow NGOs and SUARAM members are our strength!"@SUARAMtweets
Harassing whistle blowers
Indeed, there does appear to be cause for concern as the CCM inspection follows days of haranguing in the Umno-controlled newspapers urging the government to investigate why the human rights group was registered as a company, and yet styled itself as an NGO or non-governmental organisation.
Umno-linked groups also demanded that the authorities inspected SUARAM's sources of funding and what happened to the nearly one million ringgit it posted as earnings since 2009.
"The harassment of SUARAM by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) is a shocking example of wrong priorities by the authorities. Instead of immediate investigation of the questionable activities of companies such as Perimekar and Terasasi recently uncovered in the Paris papers, the authorities have decided to harass SUARAM, the whistleblower in the on-going Scorpene scandal, involving at least RM500 million suspected commissions belonging to Malaysian tax payers," SUARAM said in a statement.
"The visit by CCM on a ‘routine inspection’ lacks credibility when we bear in mind that SUARAM has an excellent 23-year track record and has been submitting records to the CCM since 2002. In 2011, SUARAM was endowed with an award from SUHAKAM. We question the political motive of the CCM when they perform a ‘routine’ inspection for the first time after more than 23 years in operation. SUARAM has nothing to hide and we are prepared to comply with any requirements specified under the law in submitting our fully audited records."
Trying to nose out what SUARAM knows
The human rights grouped enraged the Najib administration when it filed a complaint in 2010 in Paris against DCNS, the vendor of the two Scorpene submarines, for paying illegal commission to Malaysian officials including Najib - who was then defense minister - to close the deal.
After more than a year's probe, the French court began hearing the case in April this year. Hundreds of documents seized by the French police have been submitted as evidence and there is speculation Najib might be trying to nose his way into these via the CCM raid into SUARAM's office.
If DCNS is found guilty, then the giant naval arms maker may be made to compensate the Malaysian people for inflating the RM7.3bil price tag with illicit commission. The Malaysian officials including Najib will also be exposed and the Malaysian government will have no alternative but to begin an internal inquiry.
So far, the Malaysian authorities have refused to investigate the case, which is why SUARAM decided to lodge its complaint through the Parisian courts.
Among the documents recently revealed by SUARAM lawyers include those that show evidence of Najib's Umno party and his close friend Razak Baginda as being part of the 'money trail' for the bribes
Documents demanded
Meanwhile, SUARAM revealed in another tweet that CCM had requested for copies of (1) Financial documents for the year 2008-2011, (2)Supporting docs related to revenue and other income including bank statements from 2008 to 2011, (3) Supporting documents relating to company expenses for financial year 2008 to 2011, (4) Detailed list of administrative expenditure for financial year 2008 to 2011, and (5) Detailed information on company activities for financial year 2008 to 2011.
"SUARAM has flourished all these 23 years through donations by private and public sources and have been fully accountable to our funders. We are strictly a non-profit making organization and we are proud of our selfless service to Malaysian tax payers and our other contributions to Malaysian justice, democracy and human rights," said the human rights group.
Its registration under the ROC since 2002 was necessitated by "the fact that the freedom of association in Malaysia like many other freedoms is not realizable. Other NGOs have been forced to similarly register under the ROC," SUARAM added.
Malaysia Chronicle

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