Guan Eng trial: Exec director admitted ‘cooking the books’ to cover withdrawals for bribes, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli admitted that he falsified account documents to facilitate cash withdrawals to be paid to Lim Guan Eng as bribes, the Sessions Court heard on Monday (June 27).

Azli Adam, 58, who is a former senior president in finance and corporate services for Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG), testified that Zarul Ahmad had confided in him that some of the documents that Azli had fabricated under his directives were to facilitate payments of bribes to Lim.

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"After he was arrested by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission in January 2018, he made several confessions to me and also to Ibrahim Sahari (another senior executive director of CZBUCG)," he said.

Azli, who was the 28th prosecution witness, said that Zarul Ahmad had directed him to get a third party for a false letterhead and accounting documents of four companies - Sinar Bina Consultancy Services (SBCS), Bintang Ria Engineering (BRE), JKM Consortium Sdn Bhd and Jurutera Konsult Maju Sdn Bhd.

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He said that these falsifications took place between 2012 and 2017, where fake invoices and payment vouchers were used to allow withdrawals of money from CZBUCG as bribe payments to Lim.

“I confirm that I was informed by Zarul regarding the payment of bribes to Lim Guan Eng, part of it originating from money cashed out using invoices and PV (payment vouchers) of SBCS and BRE based on the modus operandi of document falsification,” Azli said.

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During examination-in-chief by DPP Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar, Azli said Zarul Ahmad's confession was "a turning point", convincing him that the payments were made.

"Zarul Ahmad instructed Ibrahim Sahari and I to use the fake documents to manipulate company accounts and cover up the money trail made to him (Zarul).

"I confirm that the payment for the invoices to SBCS and BRE were falsified payments, and the payment details were not valid and not implemented,” he said.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo, Azli admitted that he did not witness the alleged payments to Lim and only had heard about them from Zarul Ahmad.

Gobind: You know that falsifying fake company account documents is an offence under the law?

Azli: Yes.

Gobind: You know that preparing a fake account for a company is an offence?

Azli: Yes.

Gobind: Even though you knew, you still followed Zarul Ahmad’s orders?

Azli: Yes.

Gobind: Even though it opens you up to possible criminal charges?

Azli: Yes.

Gobind: I put it to you that you are not a person who can be believed.

Azli: I disagree.

Gobind: You are very capable of fabricating evidence. You knew it's wrong, it's a criminal offence and yet you did it.

Azli: No, I don't agree.

The trial resumes Tuesday (June 28) before Judge Azura Alwi, with Ibrahim expected to take the witness stand.

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