Former PPC chairman remanded for four days

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 01 Jul 2020

GEORGE TOWN: Former Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Jeffrey Chew, who was arrested on Tuesday (June 30) by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), has been remanded for four days until Saturday (July 4).

His lawyer RSN Rayer said the arrest was made following a recent report lodged with the MACC.

"The MACC applied for seven days' remand but after mitigating, the Magistrate granted four days.

"The arrest is to facilitate investigations by MACC following a report lodged recently.

"I'm not at liberty to reveal any further (details)," he told reporters outside the Bayan Baru Centralised Lockup on Wednesday (July 1).

Chew arrived at the lockup at about 1.40pm and spent two and half hours there.

He was arrested by the MACC when he was called to give a statement at the commission's Penang headquarters in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah at 2pm on Tuesday.

Before he became the PPC chairman in 2018, the 52-year-old was the special assistant to former chief minister Lim Guan Eng, in charge of manufacturing, industries and investments.

Last May, the MACC confirmed opening six investigation papers on the Penang undersea tunnel project.

According to the MACC, the first investigation paper was opened in July 2017 while five more were launched in January last year.

It said a total of five investigation papers were completed and referred to the Deputy Public Prosecutor.

The MACC said three investigation papers were returned to them for further investigation.

In 2018, the MACC remanded Ewein Bhd managing director Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli over their involvement in the undersea tunnel project.

The anti-graft agency at that time raided the offices of four state government agencies – the Penang Public Works Department, Penang State Secretary, Penang Office of Lands and Mines and Penang Valuation and Property Services Department.

The MACC also raided three property development and construction companies, namely Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, 555 Capital Sdn Bhd and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd’s Penang office.

Ewein Zenith is a joint-venture vehicle between Ewein Land Sdn Bhd and Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd.

The latter is a Malaysia-China joint venture that was awarded the RM6.3bil mega project to build the 7.2km undersea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Prai, a 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, the 5.7km Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass, and the 4.075km Gurney Drive-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

Consortium Zenith BUCG changed its name to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd after the withdrawal of Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG).

It is believed that the MACC is looking into why the state government allowed the Penang Tunnel special purpose vehicle (SPV) company to pre-sell state land rights worth RM3bil despite a four-year delay in the construction of roads.

Investigators are also believed to be looking into the RM305mil feasibility and detailed design studies that have yet to be completed, even though payment of RM220mil was made to the SPV.

The controversial RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project is again being probed by the MACC following fresh leads.

More state officials are expected to be called up, said highly-placed sources in the MACC.

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