16 July 2015
PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report (SR) has refuted claims that a Lester Melanyi had written for the whistleblower site or had forged information for it.
“Let us confirm. Lester Melanyi has never ever written a word for Sarawak Report – sorry Lester, but we are out of your league,” Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown said in a short comment piece on the website.
She was referring to the report that Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had urged the authorities, including Interpol, to act against SR for falsifying information concerning 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Abdul Rahman was reported saying that he had been approached by an individual with a video that SR staff doctored the papers in an effort to criminalise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and 1MDB with malicious intent.
The person in the video is believed to be Melanyi.
News reports stated that a police report on this was lodged by BN-friendly NGO Pertubuhan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin (PMSP) president Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu today afternoon.
The police report, sighted by theSun, pointed out that Ramesh had travelled to Kuching to meet Melanyi who had confessed to be involved in the falsifying of documents along with Rewcastle.
The report added that Melanyi confessed to receiving monthly wages of RM6,000 from Rewcastle to edit content by her, as well as that information on SR were uploaded according to the orders of several DAP and PKR lawmakers.
Rewcastle also wrote that “it is a sign of desperation that ministers are trying to make headlines out of nonsense in order to attempt to distract people from the facts, which include the billions of debt that 1MDB is unable to pay interest on and the fact that billions have also gone missing”.
“Over the past months 1MDB’s defenders have not been able to counter or undermine any single one of the reports we have written on the scandal torn fund, which is why they resort to these ridiculous stories, rather than trying to sue us or answer back on the details,” she said.
When contacted by theSun Rewcastle said she had worked with Melanyi for a brief period in Radio Free Sarawak before dismissing him in June 2011.
“But I have not met him since,” she said.
However, she said that there were several e-mail exchanges between the two since.
Rewcastle had also forwarded to theSun a screenshot of a short email exchange between her and Melanyi on March 1 this year.
Melanyi had written: “Hi there, no wonder you have been so quiet. you have been busy digging, congrats. good job. I am so proud of you. hope all is well. cheers!” (sic)
Rewcastle then replied: “Thanks! Yes it was quite a job!…. sitting up night after night cleverly ‘forging’ all those document!!!!
“Seriously, it has been a real challenge getting this story out there, but once I knew the truth I was determined to drag it out – I think I slept better than those party boys last night.” (sic)
Rewcastle said that if Melanyi had been working with her in SR, he would not have written to her in such a way.
She also brushed off all allegations against her and SR in its exposes on 1MDB, adding that as a journalist she will continue to uncover the truth.