Consortium Zenith best among eight bidders for RM6.3bil project, court hears

KUALA LUMPUR: A former Penang exco member said that Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) received the highest assessment scores of all shortlisted developers for a RM6.3bil project in Penang in the open tender process.

Datuk Lim Hock Seng, testifying as a witness in the corruption trial of Lim Guan Eng, said that the state exco also agreed to the former Penang chief minister's proposal to form two separate committees – technical and finance – to assess proposals for the project in 2012.

"To my knowledge, CZBUCG was recommended by the technical and finance committees because they fulfilled all the conditions at the request for proposal (RFP) stage," said the former state exco in charge of public works, public utilities and transportation affairs.

"Following that, the State Tender Board certified and agreed to appoint CZBUCG because they received the highest scores in the overall technical and financial assessments.

"This decision was later brought to the state exco meeting for approval," he told the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Thursday (July 15).

Hock Seng said then Penang state secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus presented the decision at a state exco meeting on Jan 30, 2013 to consider CZBUCG's appointment for the project.

He added that the state government had held two pre-qualification exercise briefings in 2011 on Nov 29 and Dec 14, which was attended by a total of 60 companies prior to the RFP stage.

The sessions had earlier been advertised at state government websites on Nov 11 and newspapers on Nov 15, 2011.

Hock Seng said that after the briefings, 11 companies sent in their pre-qualification documents and out of that, eight companies were shortlisted to the RFP stage, including CZBUCG, which was formed following a merger between Zenith BUCG, Juteras and Sri Tinggi.

The other seven making bids were China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd & VST Cemerlang Sdn Bhd, Setia Precast Bhd, ECK Construction Sdn Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, Zambina Wawasan Sdn Bhd, IJM-CRGL Joint Ventures and WCT-Daewoo Joint Ventures.

Giving his testimony on Wednesday (July 14), Hock Seng said Guan Eng told him to contact BUCG representatives in January 2011 and also received Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli's number from Guan Eng.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Penang state government and BUCG in Putrajaya in April 2011 as a show of interest to build a five-kilometre tunnel at the cost of RM10bil.

Guan Eng, 60, is facing four corruption charges involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads project in Penang.

For the first amended charge, the Bagan MP is charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to corruptly receive RM3.3mil to help a company owned by Zarul 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, Guan Eng is charged with soliciting 10% of profits from Zarul to help the company be appointed for the same project.

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

The former finance minister 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.

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