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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

MACC cancels London interview with PI Bala

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will not record the statement of private investigator P Balasubramaniam in London after all.

NONEInstead, it will submit questions to his lawyers and request that the witness responds in the form of an affidavit, MACC deputy commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull told a press conference today.

"We will write to the witness' lawyers tomorrow to inform them of the decision, and to submit the questions," he said.

He said that the decision was made upon advice from the attorney-general's chambers, after considering the Eric Chia case where a witness statement recorded overseas was not allowed to be tendered as evidence in the corruption trial.

According to MACC Legal and Prosecution Director Abdul Razak Musa, the decision not to record Balasubramaniam's statement was also influenced by decisions on Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand's testimony in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.

"In the Eric Chia case, we even had the statement recorded in the magistrate's chambers overseas, but it was inadmissible. We don't want to be wasting our efforts," he explained.

'Bala not our enemy'

p balasubramaniam private investigator altantuya murder caseWhen asked, he admitted that even the affidavit may not lend much weight to the case if Balasubramaniam (right) does not testify in court.

"According to Section 30(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009, an affidavit is admissible in court, but the weight of the evidence is questionable if it cannot be cross-examined," he said.

Shukri said this is why the commission has been pushing for Balasubramaniam to give his statement in Malaysia and to testify in court.

The MACC has recorded the statements of "most of the witnesses" and the private eye's statement is crucial to the case, he said.

"MACC needs him for our investigations. He is not our enemy and neither are we his. We expect that we will have to record statements from more witnesses based on his affidavit."

Asked why it has taken so long for the commission to decide on how to deal with Balasubramaniam's interview, Shukri said, "It is better that we do things slowly, if it means the efforts of all parties will not be wasted."

The MACC had originally agreed to record the statement at the Holiday Villa in London from July 5-7.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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