Stop making personal attacks against DPPs, defence told in Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel case

KUALA LUMPUR: The deputy public prosecutor in former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s corruption trial has told the defence not to make it a personal attack on the prosecution team when arguing grounds to adduce a forensic report from another court case as an affidavit.

DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib, in his objection against the defence’s application for a forensic report from the Shah Alam Sessions court to be used in the ongoing Penang undersea tunnel trial, said that the defence had repeatedly alleged the prosecution had "suppressed evidence" from the court.

"There have been many times, the defence’s arguments resorted to using personal attacks against DPP Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and the entire team.

"Don’t make it a personal attack on the DPP and the team. We are officers of the court. Let's go on the facts and evidence laid in court and not simply allege.

"We are just here to do our jobs, nothing more. And our salaries are still the same," he said at the Sessions Court here on Thursday (March 23).

During the trial before judge Azura Alwi, Ahmad Akram said it was "frivolous" as there was no need for them to adduce the documents as the witnesses involved had been called and would be called again to testify.

"They can also be cross-examined further if need be, because they are here.

"So there is no necessity for the defence to have the documents admitted in court," he said.

He also said that the defence had several times in their arguments referred to the WhatsApp messages between Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and businessman G. Gnanaraja over a RM2mil payment, coined as "chocolate" meant for "big boss".

"They already have it and they do not deny it. So this makes the application frivolous and an abuse of the court process," he said.

Gnanaraja was charged in 2019 with cheating Zarul Ahmad of RM19mil. However, he pled guilty to an alternative charge under the Companies Act in December 2020 and was fined RM230,000, while the investigation paper on the cheating case was classified as no further action (NFA).

Zarul Ahmad was currently on the witness stand, while Gnanaraja’s name was also on the prosecution witness list in the ongoing trial.

Another DPP Law Chin How also weighed in and refuted the defence’s claim of "political persecution" against his client, saying all said must be supported by evidence.

"They must prove it during court examinations. Otherwise, it’s baseless and irrelevant," he said.

Lim’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo contended that the case was a "fix up" against his client, as the prosecution never informed the court that their witnesses gave evidence in the Shah Alam case.

"They conveniently concealed it from the defence. But how dare they conceal it from the court. This is a farce," he said, adding that Zarul Ahmad and other witnesses who testified in Shah Alam that the RM2mil was for somebody else and not for Lim.

Gobind also said the defence only has part of the WhatsApp conversation, which is in the forensic report from the Shah Alam court.

He said it was important to admit the forensic report so the defence has all the information to conduct a proper cross-examination on Zarul Ahmad and other witnesses.

"Zarul Ahmad has said before that he no longer has the messages, and that he can’t remember certain things that were said then.

"That’s why we put forward what we have and applied for the report," he said, adding that witnesses could still give their testimonies in court later.

Reiterating that he was not asking for an unrelated report to be admitted, Gobind said the court should look at whether what the defence wants to produce was necessary or desirable.

"The fundamental fact of the case is that the report was already here before the court, but it was not complete, according to a witness.

"The witness also said he had the report. That is why I asked for the report," he said, adding that he had to show it to show the relevance.

Azura then set April 5 to deliver the decision for the defence’s application.

Lim, 62, was facing an amended charge of using his position as then Penang chief minister to solicit RM3.3mil in bribes as an inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Zarul Ahmad, to secure the project worth RM6,341,383,702.

Lim allegedly committed the offence at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, Level 28, Komtar, George Town, between Jan 2011 and Aug 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim was accused of soliciting a bribe of 10% of the profit from the company as gratification to secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here in March 2011.

Lim, who was a former DAP secretary-general, faced another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8mil, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.

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