Guan Eng pleads not guilty to amended charges

Day in court: Lim and his wife Betty Chew leaving the Kuala Lumpur court complex. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Guan Eng has pleaded not guilty to two amended charges of corruption involving the Penang undersea tunnel project. The trial will take place in June.

The first amended charge is for receiving RM3.3mil as an inducement to help Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli’s company secure the undersea tunnel project valued at RM6.3bil.

Lim is alleged to have received the bribe in his capacity as the chief minister of Penang then, at the Chief Minister’s office in the Komtar building in George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.

The amended charge removes a sentence which states that he had a direct stake in the undersea tunnel project.

The second amended charge is for soliciting gratification from Zarul Ahmad to help the company secure the project.

The alleged bribe was in the form of 10% of the profit that would be made by the company.

The amendment added a time frame to the accusation, stating that it occurred between 12.30am and 2am, near The Gardens Hotel at Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here. No date was added, with the charge sheet only stating March 2011.

Both charges are punishable under Section 24(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, with up to 20 years’ prison and a fine of not less than RM100,000 or five times the value of the gratification, upon conviction.

During case management yesterday, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the prosecution would be calling 80 to 90 witnesses for the trial.

Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo applied to have the various charges heard together in one trial before the Kuala Lumpur court, as the charges originated in both Kuala Lumpur and George Town.

Gobind also requested for a later trial date so that he could go over eight volumes of case documents handed over by the prosecution.

Meanwhile, Lim is also facing two counts of misappropriation of property for causing two plots of land belonging to the Penang government worth RM208.8mil to be disposed of by two companies linked to the undersea tunnel project.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Penang Land and Mines Office in Komtar on Feb 17,2015 and March 22,2017.

The charges under Section 403 of the Penal Code are punishable by up to five years’ prison, whipping and a fine, upon conviction.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi agreed to have the charges heard together and fixed 31 days for the trial to run from June to December, starting on June 8.

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