Witness admits to making fake vouchers

KUALA LUMPUR: A key witness in the Lim Guan Eng corruption trial over the Penang undersea tunnel project told the Sessions Court he used dummy invoices to avoid the name of the former chief minister from appearing in any of his company’s accounts.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli also admitted asking two colleagues to prepare fake payment vouchers and invoices, knowing it was a crime to do so.

The duo were former CZC director Ibrahim Sahari and Azli Adam, a former senior president in finance and corporate services for Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG).

During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, he asked the witness if he had ordered 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. I used the dummy invoices so that his name doesn’t appear in any accounts.

Zarul Ahmad said he knew his company obtained the highest score in the project’s tender process, but 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 felt 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, Azli testified he had helped Zarul Ahmad 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 11 days in Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) remand 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.

He also testified that the bribes he paid 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 felt 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 starting to cross-examine Zarul Ahmad at the next hearing.

The trial before Judge Azura Alwi resumes on Aug 4.

Lim, 62, faces four corruption charges involving the proposed construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads project in Penang.

For the first amended charge, Lim is charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to corruptly receive RM3.3mil to help businessman Zarul Ahmad’s company secure the project, worth RM6,341,383,702, between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.

For the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting 10% profits from Zarul Ahmad to help the company get appointed for the same project in March 2011 near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra at Mid Valley City.

Lim is also charged with two counts of causing two lots of land worth RM208.8mil owned by the Penang government to be disposed of by the developer linked to the undersea tunnel project on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017, at the Penang Land and Mines Office in Komtar.

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