Witness was in the dark

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) did not make any declaration to the state executive council that he had discussed the Penang undersea tunnel project with the director of the company that eventually won the tender, the Sessions Court heard.

Datuk Lim Hock Seng, the third witness in Guan Eng’s graft trial, acknowledged this when asked if the latter had made a declaration to the state exco before Jan 26, 2011.

Hock Seng, a former Penang state executive councillor, testified that Guan Eng did, however, say that a private company had indicated interest in the project.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin had questioned Hock Seng whether Guan Eng had made a declaration to the state exco about meeting Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli or Beijing Urban Construction Group representative Datuk Lee Chee Hoe.

Hock Seng also said Guan Eng had mentioned a few times that the project should be awarded via an open tender.

In his witness statement, Hock Seng said the state executive council agreed with every one of Guan Eng’s proposals in relation to the project and none of them made any protest.

“I can confirm that all the decisions in the meetings were reached collectively,” he said.

Cross-examined by Guan Eng’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo, Hock Seng denied that he received RM50,000 from Zarul Ahmad.

“I never received anything from him. That is the truth,” he said.

To another question, Hock Seng said that instructions from Guan Eng to call Zarul Ahmad and Lee were not sinister.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

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 Ahmad 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 the profits from Zarul Ahmad 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 here 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 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 Lands and Mines Office, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.

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