Open tender for undersea tunnel project not specified in MoUs, says witness in Guan Eng trial

KUALA LUMPUR: No agreement signed in 2011 between the Penang government and the Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) in relation to the paired roads and undersea tunnel project specified that it would be awarded via open tender, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court heard on Thursday (Aug 19).

Witness Datuk Lim Hock Seng, who is a Penang exco, affirmed this when questioned by the deputy public prosecutor while testifying in the graft trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

“It is not stated in the memorandums of understanding," the former Penang state executive councillor said to a question by DPP Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.

Two MoUs were signed in March and April 2011, while the tender for the project only opened in July 2012.

Eight companies including BUCG were shortlisted to the request for proposal (RFP) stage.

The result of the tender, which was awarded to BUCG, was announced in March 2013.

Hock Seng, however, said BUCG was verbally told that there would be an open tender for the project despite the MoUs signed.

Hock Seng and Guan Eng were part of a 10-member state delegation to China in May 2011 to observe BUCG's construction of mega projects there.

Asked about the need for a working visit to China, Hock Seng said it was at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Guan Eng.

He said the Penang state government paid for the trip.

“At the time, we didn’t know who would get the project. We didn’t want to give the wrong impression,” he said to a question by DPP Nik Haslini Hashim.

The trial continues on Friday (Aug 20).

Guan Eng, who is DAP secretary-general, 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 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, 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 here in March 2011, between 12.30am and 2am.

He 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 in Komtar on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.

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