KUALA LUMPUR: PETALING Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua admitted yesterday that it was he who had introduced Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the woman allegedly spearheading a smear campaign against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to The Edge Media Group’s top guns.
As evidence from investigations into the case of former PetroSaudi employee Xavier Andre Justo began to emerge, Pua made this startling revelation but was quick to qualify that he was not privy to the leaks or any transactions.
Pua refused to commit when the New Straits Times asked him on WhatsApp if it made sense for a person, acting as the go-between for the sale of US$2 million (RM8.6 million) worth of supposedly valuable commodity, not to have knowledge of what was being put up for sale, its authenticity or even where it came from.
He was also asked if he was aware that he was aiding and abetting in the sale of stolen data. To this, he asked if the NST was levelling accusations against him.
According to investigation documents traced to the Thai authorities, Rewcastle-Brown, who was allegedly acting as Justo’s broker in selling the data he stole from his former employer, had contacted him in February this year to say that she, together with Pua, had arranged for the sale of the stolen data to The Edge Media Group owner, Datuk Tong Kooi Ong.
Pua’s name cropped up several times in Justo’s written confession and transcript of three-month long WhatsApp conversations involving Rewcastle-Brown, Justo and The Edge’s Tong and Ho Kay Tat, who had allegedly set up the thread.
In another WhatsApp thread between Justo and Rewcastle-Brown (they were using the pseudonyms Fullerton and Athene Ban) to discuss the stalled promised payment to Justo, Rewcastle-Brown told him, “I have asked Tony to set up a meeting with Tong”.
Justo, in his response, asked Rewcastle-Brown to take it from there, saying: “You decide. I thought Tony was the leverage. If they don’t care about Tony, what can the others do.”
Clare responded: “Ok. Waiting for Tony to expand on this. He introduced me and has involvement. None of the parties want this out, I assume.”
In the exchanges, in which Justo’s patience appeared to be wearing thin, Rewcastle-Brown had also allegedly told him: “I have told Tony that if he doesn’t pay up then he will be seen to have been dealing with me as you (Justo) are threatening to publish (make public the deal).”
Pua was called to Bukit Aman on Sept 4 over his statements in relation to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). He then held court outside Bukit Aman, telling the media that police had asked him if he knew Rewcastle-Brown and Justo.
He then said: “I told police that I know Clare and that I met her in London previously. “However, I do not know Justo and have never met him.”
The member of the Public Accounts Committee told his audience that he had declined to answer other questions posed by police and exercised his right to remain silent.
The NST yesterday asked Federal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) deputy director (Investigation and Law) Datuk Amar Singh, who had on that day confirmed that Pua had been called in, if Pua had mentioned anything about acting as the go-to guy between Rewcastle-Brown and Tong.
Amar said it was not mentioned at all, adding that police would study this new evidence.
Pua had said he was being investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code for activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and Section 124J of the Penal Code for receipt of documents and publication detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said police had received cooperation from the Thai authorities to do what was necessary, including opening new investigation papers, against those with involvement to overthrow the government.
“These (procedures) are normal,” he said.
Meanwhile, former PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told NST that Pua never disclosed any knowledge of the stolen data or the dealings to the parliamentary committee, which sat from May to July (when it was temporarily suspended) to investigate 1MDB.
The dealings for the stolen data started as early as March, before it came to an abrupt end in late June when Justo was arrested by Thai authorities for blackmailing his former employer. Justo, in his confession, said he made it clear to those involved in the deal that he had stolen the data, adding that Tong had told him that there was nothing to worry about and that he “would take care of things”.
“I did not alter or forge any of the data, but I can’t say what Clare, Tong and Ho Kay Tat did to it after I gave it to them.
“All I know is that when I look at the original PetroSaudi data relating to the 1MDB deal, I couldn’t see any wrongdoing,” the documents quoted him as saying.
Protection Group International (PGI) had in July, said Sarawak Report’s published information on 1MDB was “inconsistent” and “unreliable” and that there were inconsistencies between the original information and what was published by the blog.
The cyber security firm was hired by PetroSaudi to investigate the source of the data published online and verify its authenticity.
On June 24, 1MDB said probes into Justo showed that some of the emails concerned had been tampered with, adding that it was confident that the authorities would investigate, establish the facts and take action. Pua, Rewcastle-Brown, Tong and Ho have denied any wrongdoing or conspiracy to bring down the prime minister.
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/09/pua-makes-startling-admission