KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The London-based web designer shown by former journalist Lester Melanyi as the creator of forged documents on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is, in fact, a railway services manager in Ipswich, UK.
In a second video accusing website Sarawak Report (SR) and Malaysian opposition leaders of forging 1MDB documents for a conspiracy to remove Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Lester identified the web designer as one “James Steward Stephen”.
But the photograph shown in the video exposé is that of a British railway services manager named James Steward.
The picture appears to have been lifted from the website of the East Anglia chapter of RailFuture, a British advocacy group for better passenger and freight rail services, and which was used for a summary of a talk Steward gave in 2010 as Norwich area station manager for National Express East Anglia (NXEA).
Steward has since joined another rail service provider, Abellio Greater Anglia, where he works as their Ipswich area customer service manager.
In the 2010 entry, Steward was described as having worked in rail services for nine years and was a member of the trust council at the Mid-Norfolk Railway where he also served as operations director.
But rather than a case of James Steward being rail services manager by day and master forger at night, it is simply that the wrong person’s picture was used in the video.
“James Steward (not James Steward Stephens) is an employee of ours,” Lucy Wright, a media officer with Abellio Greater Anglia, told Malay Mail Online via email this morning.
“This is a case of mistaken identity and James Steward does not have any connections with Malaysia and he is in no way connected with the alleged forgery.”
In the video released yesterday, Lester described “James Steward Stephen” as a skilled designer with extensive abilities to create forgeries and counterfeits.
The designer was also responsible for creating “90 per cent” of the forged documents on 1MDB under the direction of SR editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown based on information she obtained from former PetroSaudi International executive Xavier Andre Justo, Lester further alleged.
“The web designer in London is very good in doing it. If you ask him to create money he can create fake money for you and (it) may look genuine,” he said in the video.
Lester added that the designer had worked with the Bruno Manser Fonds, a Swiss-based organisation named after the environmental and human rights activist who went missing in 2000 in the jungles of Sarawak.
The Bruno Manser Fonds has been a staunch critic of former Sarawak Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, whom they accused rampant human rights abuses and corruption.
The mistaken use of James Steward’s photograph is another embarrassing blow to the credibility of the claims made by Lester in his video exposés.
On Thursday, the former journalist admitted to Malay Mail Online that he was paid to expose a grand conspiracy ostensibly involving Malaysia’s opposition and SR’s Rewcastle-Brown to unseat Najib using purportedly doctored leaks of documents on 1MDB.
Lester’s admission came a day after Umno minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan told reporters on Thursday that he had evidence that SR and its editors had fabricated the alleged document leaks in an attempt to discredit Najib.
Yesterday, DAP MP Tony Pua said he will instruct lawyers to initiate legal action against Lester who named Pua and PKR’s Rafizi Ramli as co-conspirators in the claimed “1MDB mission” to remove Najib.