KUALA LUMPUR: Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng had asked for 10% of profit to be made by Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group (CZBUCG) for the construction of three main roads and an undersea tunnel in the state.
This was revealed by CZBUCG owner Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 62, while reading out his witness statement in the Sessions Court here yesterday.
The 23rd prosecution witness said he was shocked by the request and had to think about it for a while as he did not expect this from someone who had spoken against corruption.
“What I understood was that the 10% was a bribe out of my company’s profit which I had to give to Lim when awarded with the project. Then I agreed with the request,” he said.
“Lim was smiling after I said that I agreed to give him that percentage of the profit from the project and YB Lim said that he or his officers would assist in providing whatever information I needed for the project.”
He added that the discussion took place in his car when he and Lim were on their way to The Gardens Hotel in Mid Valley at midnight in March 2011.
Zarul Ahmad said Lim told him that China’s Premier would be visiting Malaysia and a number of memoranda of understanding (MOU) would be signed.
CZBUCG is a joint-venture company with Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (BUCG) which had been appointed to carry out the project.
Zarul Ahmad said Lim also told him that if he could hold the MOU-signing ceremony, the project would be awarded through direct negotiation.
“At that time, I was very excited about it. I agreed to hold the MOU-signing as suggested by Lim. I was happy, confident and believe in what Lim had said that he would give the project to me, estimated to be worth RM7bil,” he said.
The witness said in May 2011, he met with Lim and demanded that the project be awarded to his company as promised and via direct negotiation but instead, Lim told him that he had to call for open tender.
“I felt disappointed as YB Lim had made a U-turn. But he promised me that he would help me get the project by ordering his officers to give me full cooperation in this matter.
“Lim also asked that the request for proposal (RFP) be sped up and also asked that BUCG assist his officers and Datuk Lim Hock Seng (former state exco member) in preparing the RFP.
“Although the giving of the award had been changed to via open tender, my company won the tender and I was grateful to Lim and Hock Seng who helped me and my company a lot in making early preparations in competing for the tender,” he said.
On his relations with Lim, the witness said that former tourism, arts and culture minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had introduced him to Lim around January 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel and they had exchanged phone numbers.
“At that time, I also took the opportunity to offer BUCG’s services to Lim in case there were infrastructure projects in Penang that I could participate in on behalf of BUCG. Lim appeared interested and said that he would be contacting me,” he said, adding that in February 2011, he met with Lim at the latter’s office, with Lim briefing him on the building of three main roads and an undersea tunnel.
Zarul Ahmad said Lim explained the project in general and stated that the project would be financed through a land swap and not the usual payment method.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister at that time to receive a bribe of RM3.3mil to help the company owned by Zarul Ahmad to obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town, between January 2011 and August 2017.
For the second amended charge, he is alleged to have solicited from Zarul Ahmad, 10% of the profit to be gained by the company in appreciation of obtaining the project.
Lim is accused of committing this offence near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here, in March 2011.
The DAP secretary-general is also facing two other charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8mil belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies claimed to be connected to the undersea tunnel project.
He is charged with committing the offences at the Penang Land and Mines Department, 21st Floor, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.
The trial before judge Azura Alwi will continue on March 23, 2022. — Bernama