Tycoon’s statement to be evidence

KUALA LUMPUR: Statements recorded from property tycoon Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng before his death two months ago have been allowed to be admitted as evidence in the corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi granted an application by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shahruddin Wan Ladin for the statements of the Ewein Bhd founder and executive chairman to be marked as trial exhibits.

She made the decision after hearing submissions from Lim’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo and Wan Shahruddin on Nov 30.

“The court allows the statements of Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng recorded during the investigation to be marked as prosecution exhibits in court,” she said.

Judge Azura said the court found that the recorded statements had complied with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

She also dismissed doubts raised by the defence about the admissibility of the statements, saying they were all explained and answered by the MACC officer.

“The witness (Ewe) had signed all the statements, and pursuant to Section 54 (of the same Act,) the court allows the statements to be admitted as exhibits,” she said.

The defence had earlier challenged the admissibility of Ewe’s statements which the prosecution sought to use as evidence in court, saying the MACC officer who recorded Ewe’s statements did not fully represent and record Ewe’s statement in full.

Ewe, a developer who was supposed to be one of the prosecution witnesses in the trial, fell from his condominium’s balcony in Jalan Kelawei in Penang in the early morning of Oct 5.

During his earlier testimony, MACC officer Asst Supt Mohd Nazri Mansor said he recorded Ewe’s statement four times on July 3, 8 and 9 last year and on Aug 14 this year and admitted that he did not record his statements in full on Aug 14.

Following the ruling, Gobind said the defence wished to recall ASP Mohd Nazri to the stand for further cross-examination.

Wan Shahruddin said the prosecution had no objection to recalling ASP Nazri, adding that the officer was not available this week due to work-related travel.

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

For the first amended charge, the Bagan MP, who is also former finance minister, is charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to corruptly receive RM3.3mil to help Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkefli’s company secure the 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 accused of soliciting 10% of profits from Zarul Ahmad to help the company be appointed for the same project.

Lim is 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 is also charged with two counts of causing two lots of land worth RM208.8mil owned by the Penang state government 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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