Lester: Yes, Sarawak Report forged 1MDB info

Despite questions over his credibility, former Sarawak journalist Lester Melanyi is standing by his claim that the opposition and whistle-blower site Sarawak Report colluded to falsify documents on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a campaign against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Since news broke of his video confession on the matter, many have cast doubts over his credibility, including Sarawak senior minister Tan Sri James Masing and Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.

"Whether I am credible or not, only God knows and He can judge me for it," he told The Malaysian Insider.

"I stand by what I said. Why should I say this if I want to play around?"
Earlier this week, Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said opposition politicians had worked together with Sarawak Report to forge documents leading to the many exposes on 1MDB.

He said there was "solid evidence", including an alleged video confession, provided in a police report lodged by Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu, president of Pertubuhan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin (PMSP), a BN-friendly non-governmental organisation.

Melanyi had travelled to Kuala Lumpur to record the video in June and Ramesh’s outfit had allegedly paid his expenses. On Wednesday, Ramesh lodged the report and handed over the video to police.

The report named Melanyi as a former Sarawak Report editor but this was dismissed by Rewcastle-Brown, who said he had never worked with the London-based site.

Rewcastle-Brown said Melanyi had never written a "single word" for the site, although she had met him when he worked with her for Radio Free Sarawak outfit, which was used to expose alleged corruption by former Sarawak chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family five years ago.

Masing said on Wednesday that it was a "wrong move" on Rahman's part to use Melanyi whose credibility was questionable.

Melanyi, who has just recovered from a stroke and spoke with a slur, had this to say in response to Masing's remarks.

"He can judge me for what I have done for him during the last state elections," he said, elaborating that he helped the Sarawak minister gain information on his main rival, Sarawak Workers Party, which contributed to his victory.

Despite Rewcastle-Brown's claim he had never worked with Sarawak Report, Melanyi insisted that he was a writer with the site from 2000 until last year.

"Of course, I worked there, how can I get all the evidence and emails otherwise?"

Rewcastle-Brown had also replied sarcastically about "forging" the documents, to which Melanyi retorted: "Would a thief admit his crime? I won't be surprised if she said she does not know me but I have evidence we are together in the form of photographs”.

Police from Bukit Aman went to Kuching yesterday to take his statement.

They will continue today but the former editor of Sarawak Tribune does not know under which law police were investigating the case.

He said he had tried to pass his information to BN component parties, including Umno but without success.

A friend then helped to arrange a meeting with Ramesh, who flew to Kuching where Melanyi showed the NGO leader his evidence such as documents, including emails, which were falsified on 1MDB.

Melanyi had then suggested making a video to expose the information he had, to which Ramesh told him to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

"He paid for my expenses like flight ticket and accommodation totalling about RM1,000 to RM2,000 from his own pocket," he said.

Melanyi said he opted to do a video confession instead of a statutory declaration (SD) as he wanted to avoid the hassle of dealing with lawyers.

Asked why he did not lodge a police report, he said: "Does it matter who does it as long as it's done?"

1MDB, a state investment arm established in 2009, sits on RM42 billion debts and is also tied to allegations that some of its funds were channelled to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak personal bank accounts in 2013.

Najib has denied the allegations and threatened legal action against The Wall Street Journal, which published the expose on July 2.

Sarawak Report has in recent months published exposes linking 1MDB's money trail to Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, among others. – July 18, 2015.

- The Malaysian Insider -
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