SHAH ALAM: The High Court heard today that a photograph of two men with the late Altantuya Shaariibuu exhibited in a court document is a fake.
But, Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg, said a photograph taken in Paris in 2005 and shown to her by the deceased was different although the same people were in that photograph.
“When I say the two men look exact, it is the two same men in exactly the same position with my cousin Altantuya,” she said when examined by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo.
However, in the photograph that she saw, all three were smiling, she said.
At the outset of the proceeding today, lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon, who is appearing for political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, told the court that there were erroneous reports about the photograph on social media.
Manjeet said some had equated the fake photograph to the one shown by Altantuya to Burmaa in Mongolia in early 2005.
Yesterday, Burmaa told the court that she had seen a picture of her murdered cousin, Razak and former prime minister Najib Razak together in Paris.
“I remember I saw a picture of three people, two men and Altantuya. I asked her who they were and she said one was the deputy prime minister and the other was Razak who worked with him (Najib) and they do business together,” Burmaa said.
Altantuya was murdered in 2006 in the jungles in Puncak Alam near Shah Alam, Selangor, with a shot to the head before her body was blown up with explosives.
Two policemen, Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were Najib’s personal bodyguards, were found guilty and sentenced to death for the murder.
Razak Baginda, who was an aide to Najib, the then deputy prime minister, was charged with abetting the duo but was later acquitted without his defence being called.
Altantuya’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa, and Altantuya’s son Mungunshagai have named Razak, the government, Sirul and Azilah as defendants in the suit.
The family, alleging there was conspiracy in Altantuya’s murder, is seeking RM100 million in damages, including dependency claims.
Cross-examined by Manjeet on the fake photograph, Burma said it was the worst photoshopped picture she had ever seen.
“In the photo shown to me by Altantuya, all three are smiling,” she said.
Burmaa said that private investigator Ang Chong Beng, who was engaged by Altantuya to locate Razak, had told her that the deceased had brought along the photo when she (Altantuya) came to Kuala Lumpur in October 2006.
Burmaa said she only came across the fake photo on the internet after she had given evidence in Altantuya’s murder trial in 2008.
She said the woman resembling Altantuya in the fake photo was a stranger to her. “She is not my cousin and I do not know her,” she added.
Burmaa also testified yesterday that she met Razak together with Altantuya on three occasions – in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore – between October 2004 and March 2005.
To a question today, Burmaa said she was absolutely sure how Razak looked.
Manjeet: Why did you have to ask Altantuya who were the men in the photograph?
Burmaa: It was my mistake in the witness statement.
Manjeet: You are lying.
Burmaa: I am under oath.
Manjeet said Burmaa knew who Razak was after meeting him but when shown a photograph by Altantuya she had asked who they (the two men) were.
Burmaa later explained that what she had wanted to say was that she did not recognise the other man (Najib) in the photo.
On another matter, Burmaa said she sent a nasty text message from Hong Kong to private investigator P Balasubramaniam after Altantuya was abducted outside Razak’s home in Damansara on Oct 18, 2006.
She said: “You sick f***s. Listen to me carefully. I am going to call his (Razak’s) wife and report to the (Mongolian) consul to Malaysia. You chicken s**ts in big problem. I’ll do my best I promise.”
She said her angry outburst was because Altantuya had gone missing and that it did not reflect her real nature.
Hearing before Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera continues tomorrow.
Defence grills Altantuya’s cousin if ‘photo with Najib’ exists
Altantuya Shaariibuu’s cousin is grilled on the existence of an alleged photograph depicting the slain Mongolian national with former premier Najib Abdul Razak.
Lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon posited that Burmaa Oyunchimeg had lied about having seen the photograph.
Manjeet is representing Altantuya’s former lover Abdul Razak Baginda in the RM100 million civil suit filed by the deceased’s family.
Yesterday, Burmaa told the Shah Alam High Court that Altantuya had shown her a photograph from her trip to Paris in which the deceased was with two men, Razak Baginda and a “deputy prime minister named Razak”.
Manjeet started his line of questioning by confirming with Burmaa if she had met Razak Baginda on three occasions in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore between 2004 and 2005, and spent time with him and Altantuya.
When she answered in the affirmative, the lawyer referred to her statement in court about asking Altantuya who were the men in the photograph when she had met Razak Baginda before.
Manjeet: Did you ask your friend (cousin) who are those in the picture?
Burmaa: No. I know Razak Baginda.
Manjeet: Listen to me.
Burmaa: Perhaps there was a mistake, but I know Razak Baginda.
Manjeet: You already know the mistake?
Burmaa: Yes, English is my second language.
Manjeet: Because you are lying to the court?
Burmaa: I am under oath.
Manjeet: Did you ask, who are these people?
Manjeet: You know this man, you are globetrotting with him, staying in the same hotel, and you say you recognise him.
Manjeet: Don’t interrupt me. You looked at this picture and asked, who are they?
Manjeet: You did not recognise Razak (Baginda)?
Burmaa: Yes, of course, I did.
Manjeet: Then why did you say this in your statement, ‘When we were back in Mongolia, she showed me pictures of her trip to Paris with Razak. I remember I saw a picture of three people, two men and Altantuya. I asked her who they were.’
There are two men. One is someone you spent time with, you mean to say you did not recognise both of them?
Burmaa: I did recognise Razak Baginda.
Manjeet: Then why did you say this in your statement and sign it?
Burmaa: I was mistaken.
Manjeet: You were mistaken?
Burmaa: By the word. I am not mistaken when I saw Razak Baginda.
Manjeet: Can I suggest that perhaps your English is not as good as you say it is?
Burmaa: Yes, you may.
Manjeet: Why did you make this simple error?
Burmaa: It happened between me and my sister (Altantuya). I was asking Altantuya who was in the picture with Razak Baginda and Altantuya.
Manjeet: I put it to you, you were never shown any picture.
Burmaa: I did.
Manjeet: I put it to you there was no such picture.
Burmaa: I saw it, I am telling you what I saw.
Manjeet: I put it to you, that this is a made up story.
Burmaa: I disagree.
The witness then explained that while she did not remember when exactly Altantuya had shown her the photograph, she was certain that it was after the two of them returned to Mongolia from their trip to Singapore in March 2015.
According to her, Altantuya had numerous photographs of her trip to Paris, especially of herself and with Razak Baginda, but also the alleged photograph with Najib.
Burmaa: I asked who was this man with her and Razak Baginda. She told me it was a high-ranking official in Malaysia, and she told me a name, Najib Razak.
When I heard the name I asked, are they brothers because of the same name.
She said ‘no, they are good friends and business partners and he is a high-ranking official in Malaysia’. That’s exactly what she told me.
Manjeet: When did you memorise that speech?
Burmaa: I remember that was all.
Manjeet: I put it to you that you memorised your speech and you know exactly what evidence you would be giving in court.
Manjeet: You know exactly what evidence you gave in court?
Manjeet: That is why you made this obvious error. You did not know who these people in the photographs were because today you are lying.
Burmaa: What are you accusing me of? I said I recognised Razak Baginda, I didn’t recognise Najib Razak. That is why I asked who was the other person in the picture.
Manjeet: Alright, okay.
The line of questioning then shifted to Altantuya’s sons.
Later, Manjeet asked Burmaa about a photograph submitted by the plaintiffs, which she said was similar to the photograph Altantuya had shown her.
Burmaa said the woman in that photograph was not Altantuya, and it was “the worst photoshop job” she had seen.
She said the photograph was unnatural as the men were not looking at the camera.
“In the original picture, they were all smiling,” she added.
However, she said the two men in the fake photograph, Najib and Razak Baginda, were the same men she saw in the original photograph.
She also made a passing comment that the original photograph “doesn’t exist anymore”.
Asked by senior federal counsel Jasmee Hameeza Jaafar about the photograph’s whereabouts, Burmaa said she did not know.
“I was told by Mr Ang that the photo is with Altantuya (when she came to Malaysia in October 2006).
“Mr Ang said he saw that photo too,” she added in reference to Ang Chong Beng, a private investigator hired by Altantuya.
Burmaa said there were other photographs from Altantuya’s trip to Paris, including those of her outside a Louis Vuitton boutique and of her and Razak Baginda in a Ferrari.
She said these photographs were still likely to be in the possession of Altantuya’s family in Mongolia.
Yesterday, Najib reiterated his denial about having met Altantuya and dismissed Burmaa’s claim regarding the photograph as a lie.
The civil suit was filed by Altantuya’s family in 2007, a year after her death.
In January 2015, former police special operations force personnel Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were sentenced to death for the murder.
Razak Baginda, who was accused of abetting the pair, was acquitted.
The trial continues tomorrow with Altantuya’s father Setev Shaariibuu taking the stand. – mkini
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