Guan Eng corruption trial: 'I used fake invoices because I felt indebted to him', says key witness

KUALA LUMPUR: A key witness in the corruption trial involving Lim Guan Eng on the Penang undersea tunnel project told the court that he did not make up any story in his testimony to implicate the former Penang chief minister.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli said he knew his action of instructing his two colleagues, Azli Adam and Ibrahim Sahari, to prepare fake payment vouchers and invoices was a crime.

However, during examination in chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, he said he felt "indebted" to Lim because he was getting the undersea tunnel project as his company obtained the highest score among potential contractors during the tender process.

Wan Shaharuddin: Did you order Azli and Ibrahim to make the dummy vouchers?

Zarul Ahmad: Yes.

Wan Shaharuddin: Did you know it was an offence?

Zarul Ahmad: Yes.

Wan Shaharuddin: Were the fake vouchers prepared to prevent you from being investigated and not Lim Guan Eng?

Zarul Ahmad: I do not intend to make up anything or implicate Lim Guan Eng. That’s why I used the dummy invoices so that his name doesn't appear in any accounts.

When asked, Zarul Ahmad said he knew his company obtained the highest scores in the project’s tender process, but he was unaware of the score.

"We gave much input to the state about the undersea tunnel project. That’s why we had a headstart to complete the tender process," he said, adding that only two companies, including his, fulfilled all conditions for the project’s RFP (request for proposal).

Wan Shaharuddin: So you were promised the project and you got it. Is there a reason you are concocting your statement today against Lim Guan Eng?

Zarul Ahmad: I have no intention to make up (evidence) as I feel indebted to him. If possible, I did not want in any way to implicate Lim in this case.

Previously, Zarul Ahmad testified that Lim had asked for a 10% cut of the profit from the project in return for his company being awarded the project.

Then, Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) former senior president in finance and corporate services Azli Adam, testified that he had helped Ahmad Zarul falsify invoices and payment vouchers to withdraw company money to pay to Lim as bribes.

Zarul Ahmad also testified earlier that Lim received part of the bribes with a smile.

Following his release from the MACC remand of 11 days in January 2018, Zarul Ahmad said Lim had also told him to give statements to the media.

"I received instructions from Lim to speak to the media, to make it seem like I was ‘forced’ to give statements to the MACC during investigations," he said.

When asked, he also explained that the bribes he gave to Lim increased from RM100,000 to RM500,000 some time before Chinese New Year in 2016 because he had received money from selling a plot of land, which was Lot 702.

"I feel that RM500,000 was reasonable to be given to Lim at that time," he added.

Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo filed an application to examine the exhibits, including the text messages and exchanges, the mobile phone and SIM card before he starts to cross-examine Zarul Ahmad at the next hearing.

The trial before Judge Azura Alwi resumes on Aug 4.

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