Azilah: I considered problem settled when Altantuya left Razak’s home

Maria J. Dass, The Sun

The first accused in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, told the High Court today he did not know if his colleague, second accused Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, had sent Altantuya back to her hotel on the night of Oct 19, 2006.

He said he had considered political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda’s problem as “settled” when the Mongolian woman left Abdul Razak's house in Bukit Damansara after he (Azilah) advised her to do so.

Cross-examined by prosecution head Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, Azilah said he did not ask Sirul Azhar about Altantuya after he agreed to send her back to her hotel.

“I considered Razak’s problem as settled as the woman had left his house,” said Azilah who disagreed with Tun Abdul Majid’s contention that “settled” meant Altantuya had been shot and blown up in Puncak Alam.

He also denied he had called Abdul Razak to tell him he could sleep well that night.

Last week, Azilah told the court that Abdul Razak (who has been cleared of an abetment charge in this case)  had asked him to "advise" the woman and send her back to her hotel after she turned up outside Abdul Razak's house on the evening of Oct 19.

Azilah said Sirul Azhar, whose assistance he had sought to help resolve Abdul Razak’s problem, had agreed to send Altantuya back to the hotel because Azilah and his girlfriend, L/Cpl Rohaniza Roslan did not have the time to do so.

Azilah denied he and Sirul Azhar had stopped half-way during their journey from Abdul Razak’s house to Bukit Aman, to discuss their plans to kill the woman, and that this was their "mission" for that night.

Azilah and Sirul Azhar, both police Special Action Unit (UTK) personnel, are charged with murdering Altantuya between 10pm on Oct  19 and 1am on Oct 20, 2006 at a jungle clearing in Mukim Bukit Raja.

Tun Abdul Majid also questioned Azilah about Sirul Azhar’s four-wheel drive vehicle which Altantuya was last seen getting into.

Azilah said he did not know if it was Sirul Azhar’s vehicle and neither could he remember the registration number (CAC 1883).

Tun Abdul Majid: You are close friends and you can’t remember the car number?
Azilah: This car is not always parked at our office as it is a vehicle which is usually used for hunting and fishing excursions in the jungle, and for camping and other jungle activities.” 

There was laughter in the court when Azilah said he was not angry with Rohaniza for going to the karaoke that night, but merely suspicious that she may have been with another man.

He said he called Rohaniza when he and his fiancee, Norazilah Baharuddin, were on their way for supper in Wangsa Maju, adding that Norazila knew Rohaniza and that he was close to her.

“The background was noisy when I called her and she told me she was at the karaoke. I asked her 'Eh, why are you at the karaoke,” said Azilah.

The judge, Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin, remarked: “How do I write this down ‘Eh, why are you at the karaoke?'  Were you angry with her?”

Azilah replied: “No, I was not angry with her, only a little suspicious. Who knows, maybe she was with another man, because what she told me earlier was that she was going to meet her friend, and then I find out that she is at a karaoke.

“Furthermore, she had promised to send me to Putrajaya that night."

Azilah said  he was not in possession of his gun between the afternoon of Oct 19 and the night on Oct 20, saying he left it in a cabinet in Bukit Aman after he had briefed colleagues he was supposed to lead on escort duty to Hong Kong.

“It was uncomfortable having the gun hanging on my waist without a holster as it caused with my skin to itch,” he said.

He said he would usually use a holster when he was on escort duty and his jacket would help to cover it up.

The hearing continues.