Guan Eng slapped with more charges

BUTTERWORTH: Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng has been slapped with two charges of misappropriation of property amounting to RM208.7mil.

Lead deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the latest two were the final round of charges against Lim, who is also a former Penang chief minister.

“There are 10 main witnesses, all in Kuala Lumpur,” Wan Shaharuddin said outside the court here yesterday.

Earlier, Lim, who appeared calm and composed, pleaded not guilty to two charges of dishonest misappropriation of property at the Butterworth Sessions Court here.

Lim is charged with disposing two properties in the form of land to two companies linked with the controversial undersea tunnel project.

Based on the charge sheet, Lim is charged with dishonest misappropriation of property leading to the disposal of state land located in Bandar Tanjung Pinang in Penang worth RM135,086,094 to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd on Feb 17, 2015, at level 21 in Komtar, as the then-chief minister.

He is also charged with dishonest misappropriation of property leading to the disposal of another plot of state land located in Bandar Tanjung Pinang worth RM73,668,986 to Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd on March 22, 2017, at the same location.

Both charges are under Section 403 of the Penal Code, which states that whoever dishonestly misappropriates, or converts to his own use, or causes any other person to dispose of, any property, shall be jailed for six months or up to five years, whipped and fined, if found guilty.

Lim appeared before Special Corruption Sessions Court judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid and was represented by lawyers Gobind Singh Deo, RSN Rayer, Ramkarpal Singh and A. Sivanesan.

The prosecution team led by Wan Shaharuddin was supported by deputy public prosecutors Francine Cheryl Rajendram and S. Selvaranjini from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

In court, Wan Shaharuddin requested for the charges to be transferred to Putrajaya to be heard with Lim’s other cases. He cited the safety of the documents that would be submitted as evidence in court.

“The documents are in Putrajaya and it will be a question of logistics and the safety of transporting them back and forth. The main witnesses in the case are from Kuala Lumpur as well.

“I do not deny that there are witnesses from Penang but the main ones are in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

Gobind objected to the proposal to transfer the case as the land is located in Penang and the alleged offences had taken place in Penang.

Judge Ahmad Azhari allowed the transfer for the case to be heard on Oct 12 with Lim’s soliciting charges.

The court then allowed his RM1mil bail posted for the three previous charges to be extended to the two additional charges.

Last month, Lim was slapped with multiple charges over the span of one week.

He was charged under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act on Aug 7 for soliciting a 10% cut of profits from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd in March 2011 in exchange for helping the company secure the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.

On Aug 10, he was charged under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act for soliciting a bribe of RM3.3mil from Consortium Zenith Construction between January 2011 and August 2017 in exchange for helping the company be appointed as the builder of three roads related to the project.

He was then charged on Aug 11 along with his wife Betty Chew and businesswoman Phang Li Koon.

Lim was charged with abusing his public office for gratification under Section 23 of the MACC Act when he was chief minister and Penang Development Corporation chairman between Aug 19, 2013, and March 3, 2016.

Chew faced three counts of money laundering while Phang was charged with abetting Lim in gaining RM372,009 for Chew.

The charges against Lim were during his tenure as Penang chief minister.

Lim, Chew and Phang pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
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