BUTTERWORTH: Lim Guan Eng has pleaded not guilty to a charge of using his position as then chief minister of Penang to solicit a RM3.3mil bribe related to the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.
The former finance minister was accused of assisting the company owned by Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to be appointed to conduct the construction of main roads for the undersea tunnel project.
He was alleged to have committed the offence between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Chief Minister's office in Komtar.
The charge under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, was represented by fellow DAP members Ramkarpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo, RSN Rayer and V. Vemal Arasan.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar and Francine Cheryl Rajendram prosecuted the case before the Special Sessions Court for Corruption Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid.
Last Friday (Aug 7), Lim pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur to soliciting gratification to help a company secure the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.
He was accused of using his position as the then chief minister to solicit a 10% cut of the profits which would be made from the road and tunnel project.
According to the charge sheet, he is alleged to have sought 10% of the profits from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli as an inducement to get the contract for the project. Zenith was awarded the project.
The charge under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 carries imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Lim is expected to be charged on Tuesday (Aug 11) for “other cases” at the Butterworth Court.
His wife, Betty Chew is also expected to be charged on the same day believed to be over a land conversion deal and the purchase of a bungalow below market price.
Follow our live report here:
10.30am: The crowd outside courthouse clears and police pack up to leave.
10:17am: Lim Guan Eng leaves courthouse and heads to his Bagan service centre about 1km down the road to hold a press conference.
9.59am: Court proceedings are over. The next mention of the case is set for Sept 9 along with the Aug 7 charge. Lim is expected to face more charges in the Butterworth Sessions Court on Tuesday (Aug11) with his wife Betty Chew and businesswoman Phang Li Koon.
9.40am: A heated argument ensues after DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib requests for an application for the court to give an order for to stop anyone from making comments on the trial before it begins, which amounts to sub judice.
Counsel Gobind Singh Deo objects, saying this was raised in court on Aug 7 and Judge Azura Alwi had denied the application.
Gobind says there are some who are openly commenting on the case against Lim. He said newsmen raise questions and it is their right to defend Lim. Gobind adds that the press need to do their job while they (lawyers and DAP lawmakers) need to do theirs. Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid agrees with Gobind.
9.25am: DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib requests judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid to transfer the case to Kuala Lumpur for it to be heard together with the earlier Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 charge on Aug 7 as both charges are in consequence and related to each other.
DPP Ahmad Akram says that transporting the evidence, mostly in document form, from Putrajaya would not be logistically feasible as well as for the safety of the documents. He also says Lim Guan Eng's role as a Member of Parliament would require him to be present at Dewan Rakyat sittings.
Counsel Gobind Singh Deo objects to the request, and says there are no details where and when the transactions totalling RM3.3mil were made. Gobind says the reason given was just that the documents would need to be transported back and forth.
Judge Ahmad Azhari agrees for the case to be transferred to Kuala Lumpur.
9:25am: The drone pilot, a member of the media, is taken to the police station to have his statement recorded.
9:20am: DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib asked that the bail for Lim Guan Eng’s charge last week – RM1mil in two sureties, with RM500,000 paid on Aug 7 and the balance today (Aug 10), as well as the order for Lim to surrender his passport to the court in Kuala Lumpur – for his charge last week under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 be retained for this charge as well.
9:20am: Police seize a drone seen hovering outside the courthouse.
9.15am: The crowd outside the courthouse, which includes Lim Guan Eng supporters and media personnel, is building up.
9:13am: Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to soliciting a RM3.3mil bribe related to the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.
9:09am: Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid enters the courtroom. Proceedings begin.
8:57am: Lim Guan Eng sits in the dock. His lawyers, Ramkarpal Singh, Gobind Singh Deo and RSN Rayer join him in the courtroom. Also seen are Lim’s father and DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, mother Neo Yoke Tee, wife Betty Chew, son Marcus Lim and sister Lim Hui Ying.
8.50am: Lim Guan Eng arrives in a SUV.
8:47am: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman arrives.
8:44am: Lim Guan Eng's lawyer V. Vemal Arasan enters the courtroom. His defence team also includes fellow DAP members Gobind Singh Deo, Ramkarpal Singh and RSN Rayer.
8:42am: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P.Ramasamy arrives at the courthouse.
8:38am: Deputy Public Prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar and Francine Cheryl Rajendram take their place in the courtroom.
8.32am: Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh arrives at the courthouse.
8:25am: Police start putting up a barricade to control traffic flow into the courthouse.
8:19am: Bagan Dalam assemblyman M. Satees and Bagan Jermal assemblyman Soon Lip Chee (pic below) arrive.
8:18am: Media personnel entering the courthouse premises undergo temperature tests and check-in as part of Covid-19 precautions. The media members allowed to enter the Butterworth court building wait in the lobby area.
8:10am: Former state executive councillors Datuk Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim and Lim Hock Seng, and Jawi assemblyman Jason H'ng Mooi Lye arrive at courthouse.
8:05am: North Seberang Perai OCPD Asst Comm Noorzainy Mohd Noor speaks to the media, and allows more media members to attend: 20 within the courthouse premises and eight upstairs in the courtroom.
8:04am: Some DAP supporters arrive.
8am: Police briefing the press say that only 10 personnel will be allowed into the courthouse – four upstairs and six within the compound. There are over 50 pressmen currently waiting at the gate. The 10 are allowed in.
7:40am: Some 50 members of the press have arrived at the court premises, but none is allowed to enter the courthouse yet. There is the heavy presence of police at the scene, with a police mobile station deployed outside the courthouse.
7:39am: Members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) arrive.
7.36am: The crowd of media members starts building up around the entrance of the Butterworth Courthouse as they wait to see who is allowed to enter.
Did you find this article insightful?
84% readers found this article insightful