Thursday, November 17, 2011

Audio recording of Cabinet meetings destroyed, says witness

The High Court hearing the case involving former Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, who is charged with cheating the government, was told today that audio-recordings of cabinet meetings were destroyed after the minutes of the meetings were endorsed.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation head, Supt R.Rajagopal, 48, said because of that he could not tender the recording as an exhibit.

In the hearing last Monday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz told the court that an audio-recording would be made during cabinet meetings, including when they discussed the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

Rajagopal, who is the 25th prosecution witness, said Dr Ling gave his full cooperation during the police investigation on Oct 2, 2009 and April 1 last year.

He also told the court that there was no report lodged either by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on an allegation that he was cheated in the PKFZ project or by any members of the cabinet between 1999 and 2002 on the alleged fraud by Dr Ling in the PKFZ project.

However, Rajagopal said he recorded a statement by Dr Mahathir on Aug 15 this year, after Dr Ling was charged in court.

Dr Ling, 68, is charged with cheating the government by not disclosing to the Cabinet an additional interest rate of 7.5 per cent per annum on the purchase price of the land for the PKFZ project, which had been fixed at RM1,088,456,000 by the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) based on RM25 per sq ft inclusive of the coupon/interest rate.

He also faces two alternative charges, of cheating and intentionally omitting from the Cabinet that the 7.5 per cent per annum was an additional interest rate on the land price.

The offences were allegedly committed at the fourth floor of the Prime Minister's Office, Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya, between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

The hearing before Judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi continues tomorrow.

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