Designer's photo inserted into confession video by mistake: Former Sarawak journalist

KUCHING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The photograph of the web designer allegedly used by Sarawak Report to falsify 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) documents was mistakenly inserted into Lester Melanyi's video confession, the former Sarawak Tribune editor claims.

Lester said he did not know who put in the photograph of one James Steward to accompany his allegation that a web designer had forged e-mails and agreements on the instructions of Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.

"That photo was inserted by somebody else. He apparently wanted to make it better by inserting the photo, so he Googled the photo on the website and found this guy," he told The Star on Tuesday.

Lester had claimed in the second part of his video confession that a web designer named James Steward Stephen had purportedly forged documents to discredit 1MDB.

Debunking this, Rewcastle-Brown said the photo shown in the video was that of a senior station manager with the bus company Abellio and had been lifted from a website where he had given a talk.

Lester, however, said he stood by the claim that the web designer worked part-time for Sarawak Report.

"You must remember he is not the only one with the same name in this planet. James Steward is a common name. It's James Steward Stephen, by the way," he said.

He also insisted that Sarawak Report sent him advance copies of articles to rewrite, despite Rewcastle-Brown having said that the screenshots of the articles in the video were actually its regular newsletter bulletins sent to 7,000-odd subscribers who signed up to receive notifications of new stories.

"They have done the layout already when they push (the articles) to me. Once I localise it, I send it back to Clare with the heading 'Done'," he claimed, adding that he showed e-mail proof of this to police when they took his statement last weekend.

He was, however, unable to show the e-mails to The Star.

Lester also alleged that Sarawak Report would "go to all lengths" to deny everything he had said.

"They may say eventually that I never exist and they don't know me," he claimed.