Guan Eng fails in bid to transfer corruption case to High Court

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s corruption case on four charges involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads project in the state will begin Tuesday (July 12) at the Sessions Court here.

This follows High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin’s decision on Monday (July 11) to reject Lim’s application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

"Usually, corruption cases are tried at the Sessions Courts and heard by very experienced judges with legal qualifications.

"Session Court judges also have the ability and are capable of handling any legal issues that arise. Therefore, the court rejects the defendant’s application to transfer this case to the High Court, ” the judge ruled.

Immediately after the ruling was made, lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Lim, requested the court to allow a stay at the Sessions Court while they filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin objected to the application as the prosecution had already lined up witnesses for the trial this week.

He added that the witnesses called were not from Selangor or Negeri Sembilan but from Penang.

Judge Muhammad Jamil then rejected the defendant’s application for a stay. Lim, dressed in a black suit, was present at Monday’s proceedings.

On July 8, Lim filed an application to have his case transferred to the High Court on the basis that the case, among others, involved Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 relating to the filing of the defendant’s statement, which was a key issue in ensuring a fair trial could be conducted and that it could be appealed till the Federal Court.

For cases heard at the Sessions Court, appeals would end at the Court of Appeal.

The court had previously set July 13 to 16; July 28 and 29; Aug 16 to 20; Sept 6 to 10; Sept 20 to 24; and Dec 13 to 17, 2021 for the trial.

For the first amended charge, Lim, 60, is charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to corruptly receive RM3.3mil to help a company owned by Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to secure the undersea tunnel and paired roads project in Penang worth RM6, 341, 383, 702.

The offence was allegedly committed between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Penang chief minister’s office.

For the second amended charge, Lim is charged with soliciting 10% of profits from Zarul to help the company be appointed for the same project.

Lim was charged with committing the offence near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here in March 2011, between 12.30 am and 2am.

The Bagan MP was also charged with two counts of causing two lots of land owned by the Penang state government worth RM208.8mil to be disposed of by the developer linked to the undersea tunnel project.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Komtar on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017. - Bernama

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