Latheefa grilled over audio recordings

Key witness: Latheefa arriving at the KL Court Complex.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner told the High Court she could not confirm whether nine recordings implicating high-profile figures were a product of MACC’s interception.

Latheefa Koya, who took the witness stand in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, was grilled by lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah about the recordings which she said was sent to the MACC anonymously.

“I wouldn’t know if this was a product of interception, ” she said here yesterday.

The court heard that nine thumb drives with a piece of paper containing narratives reached the MACC in an envelope.

The thumb drives contained audio, which she described as “very clear recording”.

“Based on the content, we were able to confirm that this (the audio) was authentic, ” she added.

Shafee: You said the recording was clear?

Latheefa: Yes, there were some disruptions but in general, clear.

Latheefa said MACC was in the midst of investigating the recordings under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of process.

Shafee: What transpired that made you decide to go public (with the recordings)?

Latheefa: The main basis is the shocking revelation of cover-ups and potentially trying to fabricate evidence. All these were being revealed through this recording.

The defence then suggested that the recordings were a product of illegality.

Shafee: You’re aware of such a thing called lawful interception monitoring system.

Latheefa: Yes.

Shafee: You’re aware that any interception of conversations has to be legal.

Latheefa: Yes.

Shafee: MACC cannot be involved in illegal interception.

Latheefa: Yes.

During the examination-in-chief, Latheefa also agreed that there were four agencies capable of such interception.

Shafee: MACC is capable of this interception?

Latheefa: Yes.

Shafee: Do you agree that Special Branch has a similar facility?

Latheefa: Yes. So does the military.

Shafee: MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission) can intercept you?

Latheefa: Possible.

Shafee then questioned Latheefa’s move to disclose the recordings to the public, asserting MACC could have investigated the recordings first before going public.

“It’s not either or. The nature of the content was more important. We could go public and still investigate it, ” she replied.

Shafee: What do you hope to get from the public (from releasing the tapes)?

Latheefa: That was not the consideration. I don’t know how to answer that.

She added that it was her duty to share so the public would not repeat such offences.

“It contains a very serious matter of public interest. It reveals conversations where members of the government and institutions, such as MACC, the Attorney-General Chambers and the Prime Minister’s Office, were involved in conspiring to cover up certain investigations against persons whom we believe hold one of the highest offices in the country, ” Latheefa said.

She was subpoenaed by the defence to testify on the authenticity of the recordings.

On Jan 8, the MACC held a press conference to reveal leaked audios which implicated high-ranking officials, including Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in connection with 1Malaysia Development Bhd and SRC International scandals.

Latheefa is expected to return to the witness stand on Monday.

Najib is facing seven charges – three for criminal breach of trust, one for abuse of power and three for money laundering involving SRC International funds totalling RM42mil.

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