Guan Eng’s high profile graft trial starts today

  • Nation
  • Monday, 26 Mar 2018

GEORGE TOWN: The high-profile graft trial of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng begins in the High Court today.

Counsel Gobind Singh Deo said Lim will be in court for the trial which will be heard before Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail.

The opening days of the trial will go on till Friday, followed by April 9 to 12; April 23 to 27; May 7 to 10; and May 21 to 25.

Penang Courts director Zaharah Hussain said security will be tightened at the court with limited access to the public.

The prosecution is expected to bring amended charges against Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon, who is accused of abetting him.

Lim pleaded not guilty on June 30, 2016, to two counts of corruption over the conversion of agricultural land to residential status and purchase of a plot and bungalow at below market value.

He was charged with using his position as chief minister to gain gratification for himself and wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving the application for conversion of agricultural land to a public housing zone in Balik Pulau to a company, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd.

Lim faces a second charge of using his position to obtain a plot of land and bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, on July 28, 2015, from Phang for RM2.8mil, at below market value.

Phang pleaded not guilty to a charge of abetting him.

The prosecution has over 40 witnesses.

DPP Budiman Lutfi Mohamed said Lim was supposed to be present throughout the trial.

The trial was delayed after both filed motions to declare Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act as unconstitutional.

Justice Hadhariah dismissed the applications and the defendants referred the matter to the Court of Appeal which ruled that Section 62 was unconstitutional.

The Federal Court later overturn­ed the ruling. Section 62 requires an accused to submit defence statements to the prosecution before the start of a trial.

On the eve of his trial, Lim was busy tending to the DAP’s general election campaign.

The DAP secretary-general at­­tend­ed the launch of the party’s Air Putih operations centre in Jalan Ayer Itam, and later opened the Padang Kota operations centre at the Kedah Road flats complex. He also visited the Sia Boey Market.

Meanwhile, Penang deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Roslee Chik said Lim would be asked to give his statement this week on the controversy involving the GST parody.

Several police reports were lodged against Lim after the parody sing-along which took place at a free tuition class organised by the state government last weekend.

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