Malaysiakini:Anwar: Let me testify, I’ve new evidence
Posted January 22, 2008on:
|Beh Lih Yi | Jan 21, 08 8:43pm|
|PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said he can provide new evidence on the VK Lingam video-clip controversy should he be allowed to testify before the commission of inquiry tasked to probe the matter.
This ‘offer’ came after his lawyer again failed today to persuade the commission to call the politician as a witness because he is due to leave for Hong Kong tomorrow.
“I want to adduce further evidence to support my argument (to show) that this whole deceit and conspiracy involving Tengku Adnan (Tengku Mansor), Vincent Tan and VK Lingam,” he told reporters at the Jalan Duta court complex, where the inquiry being held, this afternoon.
According to him, this involved an alleged plot in 1999 where Anwar was accused of amassing RM3 billion overseas by former Bank Negara assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid.
This was soon after Anwar, who was deputy premier and finance minister, was sacked by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In the purported plot, Lingam allegedly played an influential role in fixing the court case involving Murad – who was charged for failure to declare his assets – with then chief justice Mohd Eusoff Chin.
“Murad was forced to make an admission that I have RM3 billions overseas. I have obtained information from him (Murad) that he had to do it under instruction and the negotiation began in Tengku Adnan’s house and in the presence of Vincent Tan.
“Lingam forced him (Murad) to make the admission, otherwise he would be threatened with a jail sentence… Of course, Lingam assured Murad that he had already made the arrangement with (then chief justice) Eusoff Chin (let him off easy),” Anwar claimed.
Mr X and Mr Y
The ‘Anwar has RM3 billion’ admission by Murad came a month after the central bank’s senior official was charged with not declaring assets worth an estimated RM24 million in shares and properties in a local company.
The case went to trial and in 2000, Murad – a former ally of former deputy premier – was found guilty and slapped with RM500,000 fine.
Anwar has always maintained that there was a conspiracy to oust him after he fell out with Mahathir.
Last week, Anwar’s lawyer M Puravalen (right) questioned Mahathir and Tengku Adnan, a key minister in the PM”s Department at that time, over the said conspiracy when the duo took the stand. They however denied knowledge of such a plot.
Puravalen has also said that Anwar would offer two ‘secret’ witnesses – codenamed ‘Mr X’ and ‘Mr Y’ – who will give further evidence of judicial fixing and corruption at the inquiry.
While one of the secret witnesses is Lingam’s younger brother Rajendram Vellupillai – whose name was unwittingly revealed by commissioner Mahadev Shankar at the inquiry this morning – the second witness is believed to be Murad.
(Another Lingam’s brother, VK Thirunama Karasu, has also offered to testify before the commission.)
When asked about the identity of the two ‘secret’ witnesses at the press conference today, Anwar nevertheless remained tightlipped.
Poser over delay
Meanwhile, Anwar wondered why he had yet been called to testify by the commission.
He had already been subpoenaed by the commission and was the fifth on the witness list.
“But now the commission wants a written submission (from my lawyer) as to why I should be heard – this is rather odd,” he told reporters, adding that this raised questions on the conduct and the integrity of the commission.
In addition to giving new evidence to the commission, Anwar – who first made public the Lingam tape last September – said it was crucial for him to testify since his name was mentioned in the video-clip.
Asked whether he would be able to testify after he had gone overseas tomorrow, Anwar said he would try to return to the country when he is called.
At the onset of the inquiry this morning, Puravalen argued that he had made a number of applications since last Thursday to seek an early date for Anwar to appear before the commission.
In turning down the request, commission chief Haidar Mohd Noor said: “We will decide, it is not your order.”
As Puravalen persisted, Mahadev stepped in: “If your request is (for us) to take Anwar (as a witness) now, then the answer is no.”