KUALA LUMPUR: Day 2 of the Royal Commission of Inquiry Into the V.K. Lingam
Video Clip started at 10.00 this morning.
Madam Chua Lay Choo, the 2nd witness, took the stand to continue her evidence. Ranjit Singh noted 11 material differences between the transcript tendered by Madam Chua and that prepared by the Bar. But she required time to review the video clip to confirm which version was correct.
At this point, Datuk Shankar posed several questions to the witness. He pointed
out that there are certain names that appear in the transcript but are not
listed as witnesses in these proceedings.
The witness responded that she did not record statements from these persons, except R Thayalan and Raja Aziz. To a question by Datuk Shankar whether she knew who Zainudin Ismail was, the witness said she believed he was a judge. Datuk Shankar queried why she did not think it was important to record his statement. At this point, Tan Sri Steve Shim asked for clarification whether the witness thought these persons were not relevant or material and the witness replied that she considered them not to be material. Datuk Shankar continued by asking the witness that in the event the clip referred to an event and if that event really did happen, would it not bear on the truth and corroborate that this man knows what he is talking about. The witness agreed but did not answer the next question whether she still thought their evidence was not relevant.
Ranjit Singh clarified that Zainudin Ismail is in fact a practising lawyer, a former Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee and not a judge.
The witness was then released for the day and will be called again tomorrow morning to clarify the discrepancies highlighted by the Bar.
Wee Choo Keong then addressed the Commission and informed the members of the Commission that he acted for Thirunama Karasu a/l Vellupillai, Dato’ V.K. Lingam’s brother. When queried whether he would be a witness within the terms of reference of the inquiry, Wee submitted that the phone conversation alleges closeness between Dato’ V.K. Lingam and Tun Eusoff Chin and the evidence of his client would be relevant in this regard. He asked for leave to appear as counsel under section 18 of the Commission of Enquiry Act and for a subpoena to be issued to his client so that he may get protection under the Act.
After deliberating, Tan Sri Haidar informed him that the Commission allows him to appear during the proceedings but they will only decide later on the relevancy of the person he represents.
The next witness called was Loh Mui Fah. The witness testified that he has known Dato’ Lingam since the mid–1990s and Dato’ Lingam handles some of his legal matters. He said he had only been invited to Dato’ Lingam’s house once on December 20,.2001 with his son, Loh Gwo Burne. The purpose of his visit was to discuss his legal matters and for an end of the year gathering. To a question as to why his son brought a camera along, the witness replied that his son always carries a camera wherever he goes. He said Dato’ Lingam received many phone calls when he was there. He said he could hear the conversation as he was in close proximity to Dato’ Lingam.
The witness confirmed he had watched the video clip. When asked who recorded the video clip, the witness replied that he did not know at the time but now he knows it was his son. He said his office staff told him that it was his son who recorded it. At this point, the video clip was played again in the courtroom and then the witness confirmed that this was the same clip that he had earlier watched.
When asked whether the Indian man speaking on the telephone in the video clip was Dato’ Lingam, the witness said yes. He then said that he asked Dato’ Lingam who was the person he spoke to and Dato’ Lingam said it was the Chief Judge of Malaya. When asked whether Dato’ Lingam made or received the phone call, the witness said that Dato’ Lingam received the phone call.
The witness confirmed that his son will testify and he will come back from overseas to do so. He said he did not know who provided the video clip to the party responsible for releasing it to the press.
At this point, Dato’ Lingam appeared in the courtroom for
identification purposes and the witness confirmed that this was the person he
met in December 2001 at his residence and that this was the person speaking on
the telephone in the video clip.
When Dato’ Nordin for the prosecution indicated that he had no further questions, Tan Sri Haidar asked the witness where was his son positioned in the room. The witness replied that his son was seated behind him a few feet away. To a question by Puan Sri Zaitun, the witness said he himself was just sitting there listening to Dato’ Lingam talk on the phone during the telephone conversation depicted in the video clip. To a question by Tan Sri Haidar, the witness said his son could also see Dato’ Lingam. To a question by Tan Sri Steve Shim, the witness said that his son was in the same room. To a question by Datuk Shankar, the witness confirmed that he himself was the person shown in the later part of the video clip interacting with Dato’ Lingam.
Questions were then posed by Americk Sidhu. The witness was shown a photograph and confirmed it was taken on the same day as the video clip by his son but after the telephone conversation depicted in the video clip had taken place. He also confirmed the identity of the persons in the photograph to be the late Manjit Singh, Dato’ Lingam and himself.
He also said that he had volunteered to assist the Independent Panel earlier and also wrote to the Prime Minister. The letter to the Prime Minister and an email to the secretary of the Independent Panel were tendered as evidence. At this point, Datuk Shankar clarified that the email appears to have been issued after the Independent Panel had completed their reports. Americk clarified that it was not his intention to establish otherwise but merely to refute any allegation that his client is suddenly coming forward now at this stage.
Questions were then posed by R. Thayalan. The witness confirmed that the video
clip he watched was from the internet and not the original. The witness said he
did not know the whereabouts of the original video clip. He said he did not know
of the existence of the video clip until it was made public. To a question
whether his son would have released the clip, the witness said he did not know
but it was unlikely because his son was overseas. He confirmed that he had not
asked his son whether he released the clip. To a suggestion by counsel that his
inaction for the last 6 years was because he did not believe the contents of the
clip, the witness reiterated that he did not know of the existence of the clip
before it was made public.
The witness said he did not know who Dato’ Lingam was talking to on the phone and that is why he asked him who it was. The witness also said he did not know whether the camera could also record video recordings.
Questions were then posed by Robert Lazar. The witness said that the telephone conversation started a couple of minutes before that as recorded in the video clip. When asked whether that part of the transcript that states “James Kumar” could be “James Foong”, the witness said it could be. He also testified that Manjit Singh was not there when the telephone conversation took place and he only arrived later. He confirmed that Manjit Singh and Dato’ Lingam were working together on his case and that his case was in Ipoh. He confirmed that the Judge in that case was Dato’ James Foong.
Questions were then posed by Syed Alwee. The witness could not remember whether there was only one camera. To a suggestion that the witness must be a big client to be invited to the house, the witness said he was not sure.
The witness was released and the proceedings were adjourned to 2.30 p.m.