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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sirul fights to access statement from Najib’s ADC Musa Safri

Citing the importance of Musa Safri as a possible witness, Sirul’s lawyer wants access to both his statement and that of Razak Baginda’s …

By SK English Team

Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two cops accused or murdering Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, has asked for access to witness statements from deputy premier Najib Razak’s aide-de-camp Musa Safri and political analyst Razak Baginda.

His counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said Sirul was not only entitled to get materials relevant for his case but all evidence that the prosecution had gathered in the course of investigation.

“This is the trite position in common law,” said Kamarul.

He also said that Musa would be an important witness if the officer has been called as a prosecution witness and could be cross-examined by the defence.

“The prosecution will argue that we can interview DSP Musa but it will be of no value if we do not know what he has said to the police. Thus, the defence is blind sided,” Kamarul said.

“Musa is the only person not called to rebut any evidence stated in the Razak’s affidavit and that makes him a very important witness. Some of the rebuttal evidence can only come through Musa.”

Musa was the one who asked Azilah to help Razak

Sirul and his colleague Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri are accused of having murdered Altantuya at a location between Lot 12843 and Lot 16735 in a jungle clearing in Mukim Bukit Raja between 10 pm on Oct 19, 2006, and 1 am the next day. She is believed to have been shot and her body strapped with C4 explosives and blown up to prevent identification.

Both were officers with elite police outfit, Special Action Unit, which was tasked to protect Najib and his office. Last week, Azilah told the court it was Musa who put him in contact with Razak, asking if he could help Razak with a ‘problem’.

Razak, who is one of Najib’s close associates and former adviser, was accused of abetting Sirul and Azilah in the murder.

The Altantuya trial has been widely followed both nationally and internationally because of the link to Najib, who has been accused of having a sexual relationship with her, before passing her onto Razak.

Razak has admitted Altantuya was his lover, but is adamant that Najib never met her. Najib too has denied ever knowing Altantuya, but he has not been able to shake off the accusations, which flared again when Razak was acquitted and discharged last year.

Judge to decide

Today, Kamarul also told the court that the defence could not risk putting Musa as their witness as he could be impeached by the prosecution.

“His credibility can be shaken or impeached as the prosecution got possession of his witness statement,” Kamarul argued.

However, deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup argued that the witness statement was a privileged document.

“We have offered Musa as a witness and the defence is free to interview him and impeach him as well. If they interview him, it will be a backdoor method to getting the statement,” Manoj said.

Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin said he would deliver his ruling later.

Kamarul dropped an earlier application to get access to SMSes gathered by the prosecution after Manoj told the court that they had already supplied phone logs of seven people, including Razak, his private investigator P Balasubramaniam and Altantuya.

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