Man on death row for Altantuya’s mysterious murder says Najib Razak ordered killing

Altantuya Shaariibuu
Altantuya Shaariibuu

A statutory declaration (SD) from the man currently on death row for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian national whose high-profile case remains shrouded in mystery, has said that it was former Prime Minister Najib Razak who gave the order to kill her.

The SD was filed on Oct. 17, and was presented today during a meeting between the lawyers of inmate Azilah Hadri and the judge in the case.

Azilah has also asked that the Federal Court review their decision to sentence him to death for Altantuya’s 2006 murder in light of his new statement. His co-defendant in the case, Sirul Azhar Umar, was also given the same sentence, but has been in Australia for the last five years, having jumped bail in 2014 after the two were found guilty.

Both were working as bodyguards for Najib, who was the deputy PM and defense minister at the time.

In the 17-page-long SD, Azilah claims that Najib ordered the killing, giving him “shoot to kill” directions, and telling him that Altantuya was a “dangerous foreign spy.” He allegedly gave him the order while at his residence in Pekan, Pahang, where he still holds a parliamentary seat. He also ordered Azilah, who was once chief inspector of the police’s elite Special Actions Unit (UTK), to obtain the military-grade explosives used to kill the Mongolian from the unit’s armory.

Azilah said that Najib made it clear at the time that this was to be a top secret operation, whose execution was only known to a limited circle that included Najib; his aide-de-camp, Musa Safri; his special officer, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was said to have had a relationship with the victim; and Azilah’s co-defendant, Sirul.

Azilah was given RM300 (US$72) as duit raya (a token fee) after the murder was carried out, and told that he need not worry about the consequences, as he was doing a national duty. He was also told that, as a “foreign spy,” Altantuya was a threat to both Najib and Razak Baginda, and that she was a “smart talker.” He was specifically told not to heed to her calls for mercy, as she would claim she was pregnant.

Azilah said in the SD that before she was killed, Altantuya did indeed say she was pregnant, and that “Mr. Razak” had sent them to kill her. When he asked who she meant, she said she was referring to the deputy prime minister.

Responding to leaked reports of the shocking claims yesterday, the central police headquarters, Bukit Aman, said it had yet to see the SD.

“Therefore, we have to check its authenticity. We will decide on further action after the SD has been checked,” a spokesman told reporters at a press conference at the Selangor police headquarters.

Linked romantically to Razak Baginda — who was, in turn, a close confidante of Najib — Altantuya is said to have been working as a translator on a billion-dollar French submarine deal at the time. Some have speculated as to whether her untimely death had anything to do with her knowledge of the bribes and kickbacks later revealed to have taken place. (France ultimately filed graft charges against Razak Baginda, though he has not gone there to face them.)

Altantuya’s remains were found in a jungle area outside of the capital. She had been shot several times in the head, and then subsequently blown up with military-grade explosives in Mukim Bukit Raja, Klang, between 10pm on Oct. 19 and 1am on Oct. 20, 2006. Questions have long lingered over the case, including as to what motives the men convicted in her murder had.

Disgraced statesman Najib, meanwhile, has long maintained that he never met the translator — going as far as calling the accusations “lies” and “slander.” However, a photograph purportedly exists showing both Ms. Shaariibuu, her lover Baginda, and the former PM together in Paris.

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