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Friday, January 25, 2008

Justice is denied?


"There are features in these cases which are disturbing enough to show, (at this point, he referred to the transcript) which states, "Yeah, Eusoff Chin in power, I can straight get Pom, Pom, Pom, Pom." - Bar's Robert Lazar.

"So, now we are going to the …Pom, Pom, Pom, Pom." - Commission member Datuk Mahadev Shankar.

"The focus here was more on whether Lingam should be allowed to be questioned on the New Zealand holiday. There has been a miscommunication; I did not think you would be going further than that." - Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor.
The Sun (Jan 24, 2008): The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the controversial video clip today barred the Malaysian Bar from questioning lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam on alleged fixing of judgments in several cases handled by the lawyer over which former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Eusoff Chin had presided.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor, who made this ruling, said the questions posed to Lingam cannot go beyond issues related to his trip to New Zealand in 1994, which the Bar was trying to prove was arranged together with Mohamed Eusoff to establish their "closeness".

Haidar said: "We will not allow the line of questioning which falls outside the Commission’s terms of reference, in particular on the identity of the person speaking on the phone in the video clip allegedly discussing the appointment of judges, to be continued."

Malaysian Bar’s representative Robert Lazar, who handled the questioning, immediately sought clarification.

Lazar: Is the Commission saying the fixing of cases and their outcome is outside the terms of reference?

Haidar: Yes, its outside.

Lazar: Does this also mean our earlier submission on the alleged fixing of cases is disallowed?

Haidar: Yes, it is disallowed. We hope with the decision, it will now enlighten the counsels the direction that they should take.

Lazar then sought an adjournment to obtain further instructions on this matter.

The Bar representative found himself in quicksand when, after earlier questioning Lingam on his New Zealand trip, he started highlighting several cases, including the M.G.G. Pillai vs Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Insas Bhd vs Megapolitan Nominees Sdn Bhd in which Ayer Molek Rubber Co Bhd was the first defendant.

These cases were handled by Lingam, and the judgments were in his clients' favour.

Haidar stopped Lazar from going further.

Haidar: You have gone beyond the New Zealand trip. What is your objective in pursuing this line of questioning?

Lazar: Our objective is to show the witness (Lingam) appeared before Mohamed Eusoff after the holiday in New Zealand.

Commission member Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong asked if Lazar was trying to establish if Lingam should have discharged himself due to his closeness with Mohamed Eusoff and if so, the proposition had been objected to by Lingam’s lawyer R.Thayalan.

He suggested Lazar discontinue with the questioning on the matter until the Commission decided on it.

Another Commission member Datuk Mahadev Shankar said Lazar’s line of questioning has got nothing to do with the issue of appointment of judges, as what transpired in the video clip.

Lazar: There are features in these cases which are disturbing enough to show, (at this point, he referred to the transcript) which states, "Yeah, Eusoff Chin in power, I can straight get Pom, Pom, Pom, Pom."

Mahadev Shankar: So, now we are going to the …Pom, Pom, Pom, Pom.

Shim: We have not made a decision on that, we have to look at the submissions made by Thayalan and the others.

Haidar: The focus here was more on whether Lingam should be allowed to be questioned on the New Zealand holiday. There has been a miscommunication; I did not think you would be going further than that.

The Commission took a brief break before making its decision that effectively prevents Lazar from continuing his line of questioning.

Lingam denies NZ trip jointly arranged

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24, 2008): Lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam today denied that his trip to New Zealand in 1994 was arranged together with former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Eusoff Chin but could not explain why reservations of the flight tickets were faxed to the joint attention of two persons, Rohani and Jayanthi.

Malaysian Bar representative Robert Lazar, who was questioning Lingam on the trip to try and show his closeness with Mohamed Eusoff, said the then top judge had earlier testified that Rohani was his secretary.

He then asked Lingam whether he knew anyone by the name of Jayanthi, and the latter replied that he had a secretary by that name.

Lingam said he was not aware of the reservation and added: "There are many Indian women with the name of Jayanthi."

Lazar: Can I suggest to you, Rohani and Jayanthi’s name were there because you and Mohamed Eusoff planned the New Zealand trip together?

Lingam: That is not true.

Lazar: So you are telling this Commission that it is a coincidence that you and Mohamed Eusoff used the same travel agent?

Lingam: There is nothing unusual about it. It was not pre-planned, it was a coincidence.

Lazar: Are you saying that your meeting with Mohamed Eusoff at Changi airport (Singapore) was a chance encounter?

Lingam: That is correct.

Lazar: Can I suggest to you, one more reason why it is not a coincidence? The first flight, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Mohamed Eusoff and his family left on a Malaysia Airlines flight while you and your family left on a Singapore Airlines flight, because you did not want anyone to spot you and Mohamed Eusoff boarding the same flight.

Lingam: That is not true.

In a reply to another question on the trip, Lingam said he booked the flight to New Zealand through a travel agency named Udara Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd.

But when Lazar showed him a copy of a Dec 21, 1994, Bank of Nova Scotia cheque for RM24,912, issued by Lingam to Holiday Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, the lawyer admitted he had an account with the bank.

This exchange took place on the eighth day of the inquiry into a video clip allegedly featuring a senior lawyer brokering the appointment of judges.

Earlier, to a question from Lazar, Lingam said he and Mohamed Eusoff’s family were not on the same flight to Auckland, New Zealand, when they boarded the plane in Kuala Lumpur.

But Lingam agreed he and Mohamed Eusoff’s family were on board the same business class flight to Auckland from Singapore.

Lazar: In Auckland, did you and your family and Mohamed Eusoff’s family stay in the same hotel?

Lingam: That is not true. We never stayed in the same hotel.

Lazar: You are positive Mohamed Eusoff’s family was not in the same hotel as your family?

Lingam: To the best of my recollection, not in the same hotel. It had been 13 years now, I cannot remember.

Lazar: Did you meet up with Mohamed Eusoff and the members of his family while you were in Auckland?

Lingam: To the best of my recollection, I first met him and his family at a zoo in Auckland and later went to the bird park.

Lazar: Was that the only occasion you and your family were with Mohamed Eusoff or were there other occasions?

Lingam: We did not tag along with him.

Lazar: It will not be right to say that you spent most of the time with Mohamed Eusoff and his family?

Lingam: That is correct.

Lazar continued questioning Lingam on the itinerary of his visit to Auckland, Christchurch and Queestown and whether Mohamed Eusoff also went to the same locations.

Lingam agreed Mohamed Eusoff also travelled to the same spots, but he had a separate itinerary of places to visit during the trip.

He admitted that besides his family and Mohamed Eusoff’s family, his bodyguard Tan Chong Paw, also accompanied them to New Zealand.

He said the trip was pre-planned by him and Mohamed Eusoff separately and it was a coincidence they met in the Changi airport in Singapore before traveling together to New Zealand.

Lazar asked Lingam about the ride in a van together with Mohamed Eusoff to another tourist attraction site in Queenstown from Christchurch.

Lazar: To say that you tagged along with Mohamed Eusoff is not true?

Lingam: The ride in the van is coincidental. He decided to tag along with me.

Earlier, when the day started, Haidar had asked lawyers representing Mohamed Eusoff for their stand on the questioning of Lingam on the New Zealand holiday.

Lawyer Zamani Ibrahim said they would align themselves with Lingam’s lawyer, R.Thayalan’s stand and also that of lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin who represents former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

Both Thayalan and Kamarul Hisham had objected to the line of questioning against Lingam on the aspect of closeness of Lingam with their clients.

The Commission also said they would allow lawyer Wee Choo Keong and his co-counsel John Fan to submit on behalf of V.Thirunama Karasu, the younger brother of Lingam, who ahd offered to testify as a witness.

Lingam: I was bulshitting and bragging

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24, 2008): Lawyer Datuk V.K Lingam told the Royal Commission today he may have been "bullshitting and bragging" when he told businessman Loh Mui Fah that he was speaking to former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

"I do not recollect I said that (it was Ahmad Fairuz). Even if I did say, I was - I’m sorry for the word - bullshitting and bragging," he said, in reply to a question by Malaysian Bar Council representative Ranjit Singh.

"This was in my house, in the privacy of my room. My house is my castle. I am the king of my house. I can talk whatever rubbish I want in my house as long as I (don’t go out) and get drunk and don’t misbehave."

When Ranjit asked why he chose to speak on judicial appointments in Loh and his son’s presence, Lingam said: "I can choose whatever topic I like. I can even pretend to talk to President Bush if I like."

This drew laughter from the courtroom.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor also asked Lingam why he thought his social friends – Loh and his son – had gone against him.

Lingam said he could not think of a reason, adding: "If they believe the video clip was true, they wouldn’t keep it for six years. They would have gone to the police and the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency) and say ‘Charge him! Investigate!’ (But) they kept it for six to seven years."

Commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar also sought Lingam’s clarification pertaining to his identity in the video when he did not dispute that he was in the photographs taken on the day.

Mahadev: When it comes to the video your evidence is that it might not have been me, it could be me, it might be somebody else?

Lingam: No, no my learned commissioner. I think you’ve not got it right. I said it looks like me, it sounds like me but I did not say it is not me. I don’t want to say it’s 100% me. The authenticity must be established by my two experts.

Mahadev: How many percent would you say (it is you) then?

Lingam: I don’t want to get into a mathematical debate with my learned commissioners. My experts (say) the local experts’ report is fundamentally flawed and defective. (If my experts) say it’s me 100%, I’ll be the first one to say it.

Ranjit also submitted 33 photographs of Lingam’s New Zealand trip with Tun Eusoff Chin to the Commission, establishing that it took place and both families went on excursions together, including a fishing trip on a lake during a visit to Queenstown.

Lingam testified he could not remember the locations where the photographs were taken as "it was over 13 years ago."

Fifteen ticket stubs were also submitted as evidence, prompting commissioners Mahadev and Tan Sri Steve Shim to ask him how he obtained the tickets and pictures. Ranjit replied lawyer Datuk Shafee Abdullah gave them to him.

Lingam also said he told the ACA he did not have records of the numbers for his mobile and house phones for 2001 and 2002, during questioning by Bar representative Robert Lazar.

Lingam said he changed his prepaid mobile number every time he lost his phone and changed his home number as "many prank calls" were made to him and the maids.

On why he volunteered Ahmad Fairuz’s name during questioning, Lingam said: "Because it is so widely reported. Malaysiakini said it must have been Tun Ahmad Fairuz. It was in the public domain since Sept 19, 2007. This is a few months down the road. I want to tell the truth and make it clear."

Former top judge grilled on overseas trip with Lingam
Prepaid card used, no trace of Lingam's phone
'It was Ahmad Fairuz'
Lingam Tape inquiry begins with controversy
Lingam Tape commission identifies 16 witnesses
'Lingam tape' inquiry in open court
Haidar heads six-man Royal Commission on Lingam Tape
ACA: No Anwar arrest yet
ACA cancels date to collect video clip
Cops want to quiz lawyers over 'Walk for Justice'


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