French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting on behalf of human rights NGO Suaram, revealed that the company paid 36 million euro (RM142 million) to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, ostensibly for "commercial engineering" works. However, the company was paid for selling top secret military intelligence on the Scorpene submarines to the French company.
Breham, who based his expose on the French prosecution papers, said the act of "selling" top secret papers to a foreign country such as this is considered treason.
In France, he stressed, it would be absolutely illegal to sell such reports as it could either be considered a breach of defence secrets or high treason.
"It's treason because you are selling to a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon," replied Breham, when asked by a journalist if it was legal for an individual to sell such reports.
"In France, if you release them (secret documents), you can be punished with up to 10 years in jail," said Breham
Hong Kong-based Terasasi had been accused of funneling money through its accounts to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as "commissions" for the sale of the submarines.
Two Terasasi directors are Najib's close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and his father Abdul Malim Baginda.
If the report from Malaysiakini is true, it is going to shatter Najib's reforms credentials which have been weakened by several questionable decisions and lack of action to curb abuse of power, corrupt practices, growing politics related violence and poor governance.
These allegations, that Najib and his party had profited from the corrupt proceeds, pose serious challenge to his leadership and personal credibility.
Silence is not a good choice for the embattled premier. He must stand up and speak up to clear the doubts.
His ex-advisor, Abdul Razak Baginda, must be summoned back to answer to these allegations. Otherwise, it would appear to be very difficult for Najib to continue to claim the moral high ground with his 1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now agenda.
It is unprecedented that a serving Malaysian premier is caught in such quagmire and controversy rising from an abuse of direct public procurement. The government has ignored repeated calls for more transparency in its procurement system and to stop using direct negotiations.
Now, the premier must answer why we should pay more than RM500 million on commission to a middleman?
Where does the money ended up?
Why aren't our MACC spring into action and investigate those personalities mentioned in the Paris trial?
Why is the so-called independent anti-corruption commission choose to ignore such huge controversy and allegations against some of the biggest personalities in Malaysia?
Malaysia's image is surely going to take a harsh beating if the ones connected to the investigation do not cooperate and come clean on the allegations.