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Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 08.52 PM
World News

Spanish voice check for Lingam tape
By : V. Anbalagan
The video clip showing Datuk V.K. Lingam purportedly talking to a senior judge on judicial appointments.
The video clip showing Datuk V.K. Lingam purportedly talking to a senior judge on judicial appointments.

KUALA LUMPUR: Spain may hold the key to establishing the authenticity of a video clip featuring lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam purportedly talking to a senior judge on judicial appointments.

The Anti-Corruption Agency is hoping that experts there may be able to verify if the voice on the clip was Lingam's.

Sources said two ACA officers left for Madrid on Monday with a voice sample of the lawyer for use in the exercise.

It is unclear as to why the ACA was looking to Spain for answers as the nation is not particularly well-known for such expertise.

Also not known at this point is whether the analysis will be conducted in a private or government laboratory.
The officers are expected to return on Saturday ahead of the Royal Commission of Inquiry which will begin proceedings on Monday.

"The technical finding is only for back-up purposes. A lot depends on what witnesses have to say about the video clip before the inquiry panel," a source told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Lingam is one of those summoned to testify.

He was called in by ACA last week to help in investigations into the matter.

In October last year, ACA officers went to Hong Kong to enlist the expertise of a reputed institution there over the authenticity of the video clip.

It is learnt that the eventual findings were of little help to the ACA.

At that time, the mission to Hong Kong was to help a three-man independent panel decide whether the content of the clip had been doctored.

The panel was replaced by the commission.

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president R. Sivarasa Rasiah said the commission should release the list of witnesses.

"The public will better understand how the inquiry will proceed if the names are disclosed," he said.

The next day, Sivarasa and a party co-ordinator, Sim Tze Tzin, lodged a report with the ACA on the matter.

Another six-minute slot, said to contain the second part of the conversation, was released last month.

Sivarasa said that he, Sim and Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had been summoned to testify before the commission on Tuesday.

Chronology of events

- Sept 19, 2007: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim releases an eight-minute video clip of senior lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam on the telephone, appearing to broker judicial appointments. The conversation is said to have occurred in 2002.

- Sept 20: The Bar Council calls an emergency meeting on the matter.

- Sept 25: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announces the appointment of a three-man independent panel to probe the authenticity of the video clip. The panel will comprise former chief judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor, social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar.

- Sept 26: The Malaysian Bar holds its "Walk for Justice" in Putrajaya. About 2,000 lawyers walked from the Palace of Justice to the prime minister's office to submit a memorandum, urging the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the video clip.

- Sept 27: The Anti-Corruption Agency begins its investigations into the video clip by interviewing Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah. Investigations against Lingam cannot commence however, as he is said to be overseas on a business trip.

- Oct 1: Lingam, still overseas, declines to comment when contacted.

- Oct 5: Upon returning to Malaysia, Lingam gives his statement to the Anti-Corruption Agency.

- Oct 26: The Anti-Corruption Agency wraps up its investigations into the video clip after recording statements from everyone related to the case, including the senior judge who Lingam allegedly spoke with.

- Oct 29: The Anti-Corruption Agency briefs the three-member panel and forwards its expert findings on the eight-minute video footage. Panel chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor also announces that the panel has given sufficient time for witnesses to come forward with information and will submit its findings on Nov 9.

- Nov 8: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim releases a further six minutes of the video clip where Lingam purportedly names the judge he is speaking to.

- Nov 9: The three members of the panel complete their reports.

- Nov 17: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announces the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, declaring that an inquiry is deemed appropriate based on the reports submitted by the panel.

- Nov 19: Lingam tells the New Straits Times that he will "definitely help" the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry in its investigations.

- Dec 12: The Prime Minister's Office issues a statement appointing Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor as chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video clip.

- Jan 14, 2008: The Royal Commission of Inquiry begins hearing.

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