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16 witnesses identified by Royal Commission of Inquiry

Thursday January 3, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.K. Lingam video clip has identified 16 witnesses.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor said they were likely to call 15 of the 16 persons on the list but did not discount the possibility of calling another three to four before the Jan 14 hearing.

"The additional names may include the person who made the tape and the person in the second part of the video allegedly asking questions to Lingam.

The Deputy Public Prosecutors are still investigating who made the tape," Haidar told reporters after chairing the Royal Commission's meeting at the Jalan Duta court complex here Thursday.

The Royal Commission was set up on Nov 16 to investigate the video clip, which allegedly showed a prominent lawyer resembling Datuk V.K. Lingam brokering the appointment of judges.

When pressed to reveal the names of the witnesses, Haidar declined but instead said:

"You can speculate. You will know when the hearing starts on Jan 14.

"The Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) has released the 16 names. There is no need to say who (they are)."

Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim released the five-year-old tape, which has sparked an outcry over the independence and credibility of the judiciary.

The first eight minutes of the tape was released on Sept 19 and a second part on Nov 8.

The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has quizzed several people over the tape, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Anwar, a former chief secretary to the government, Lingam, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

When asked if Dr Mahathir or Anwar were part of the names, Haidar declined to elaborate.

He, however, affirmed that the list of witnesses comprised a mix of politicians and lawyers and that he hoped to complete the hearing within two weeks.

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