KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan attended a tea reception for fans of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the latter’s home a day after he was allegedly sodomised by the opposition leader, the High Court was told today.
The prosecution’s star witness in Anwar’s sodomy trial admitted during cross-examination today that he was also present at the PKR headquarters and functions on June 27, 2008.
His admission came after he gave evidence in camera earlier this afternoon to describe details of the alleged sodomy, and came as a result of questioning which the defence team said was aimed at casting doubts about his behaviour and questioning his credibility as a witness.
“For someone who has supposedly been sodomised, his conduct is certainly questionable. Despite having been through an ‘ordeal’ on June 26, he (Saiful) still went back to work and was even at Datuk Seri Anwar’s house,” Karpal told The Malaysian Insider after the trial was adjourned this afternoon.
The veteran lawyer claimed that this fact, coupled with Saiful’s delay in lodging a police report over the sodomy, proved that his credibility was “suspect”.
“He (Saiful) admitted that his lodging a police report two days after the incident was his own initiative,” said Karpal.
Another defence counsel, Sankara Nair, reaffirmed his colleague’s point.
“What we are trying to establish is that after the alleged sodomy, Saiful went back to work as usual,” Sankara told reporters outside court.
During Karpal’s cross-examination, Saiful told the court that he went to a function at Anwar’s residence in Segambut at 5pm, and was seen serving tea.
“On June 27, 5pm you had tea with bloggers and Anwar’s supporters’ club at Anwar’s house?” asked Karpal, who then produced a photograph taken during the function which showed Saiful serving tea.
Saiful agreed that he had been there.
Saiful also said that he was present at the PKR headquarters in Merchant Square, Petaling Jaya at 10am on June 27.
Karpal claimed that Saiful had sent a text message to Anwar’s chief-of-staff, Ibrahim Yakob, at 11am.
“MPT training biro politik esok start dan habis pukul berapa, Dr Jeff (Jeffrey) Kitingan nak tahu?” (What time does tomorrow’s MPT political bureau training start and end, Dr Jeffrey Kitingan wants to know?) read the SMS purportedly sent by Saiful to Ibrahim.
Saiful replied by stating that he couldn’t remember if he had sent it.
He also said that on the morning of June 28 (the day the police report was made) he had gone with his uncle (Tuah Mohamed Ali) to the house of a religious teacher in Gombak known only as “Atuk”.
Before making the report, Rahimi Osman had visited him in Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Karpal: Did Datuk Mumtaz (Begum Jaafar) advise you (to lodge a police report)?
Saiful: She did not agree to me making a report. I did it of my own free will.
The first part of this afternoon’s trial took place in camera and reporters were only allowed in court after the questioning ended.
Senator Ezam Md Noor, one of the individuals Saiful claimed to have met shortly before making a police report, was produced in court to be identified and left as reporters walked in the courtroom.
The trial has been adjourned to May 31 to allow Anwar to prepare his appeal against a decision by judge Datuk Mohamed Zabidin Mohd Diah to deny him access to Saiful’s cautioned statements to the police.
Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR de facto leader, is charged with sodomising Saiful at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara here between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
The former deputy prime minister has denied the charge, describing it as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377(B) of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction. The trial is taking place 18 months after Anwar was charged in court in August 2008.
Anwar was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences. He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.
He had earlier led the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.