Guan Eng’s lawyers get report on messages related to tunnel case

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence team in Lim Guan Eng’s Penang undersea tunnel trial has received from the prosecution a forensic report obtained from another court case, which contains WhatsApp messages exchanged between two key witnesses.

This came about after the Sessions Court ruled in the defence’s favour on April 5.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh told the Sessions Court that they made the report available to Lim’s legal team on April 18.

Lim’s counsel Haijan Omar confirmed with Judge Azura Alwi that they have received the report linked to the ongoing corruption trial.

The forensic report contained WhatsApp messages exchanged between Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and businessman G. Gnanaraja over a RM2mil payment, referred to as “chocolate” meant for the “big boss”.

Earlier, Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo filed an application to adduce the report, saying that the contents were crucial to prove that the money was not meant for or paid to his client.

The report was part of the evidence in the case where Gnanaraja was charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2019 with cheating Zarul Ahmad of RM19mil.

However, he pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under the Companies Act in December 2020 and was fined RM230,000.

The cheating case has since been classified as “no further action” (NFA).

Zarul Ahmad is currently on the witness stand and Gnanaraja is expected to be called as a prosecution witness soon in Lim’s trial.

On April 5, Azura had allowed the defence’s application and ordered the prosecution to produce the forensic report.

She said the defence’s application had fulfilled all requirements in the law.

Although the forensic report was never presented in this court, she said the applicant managed to show there were two different versions of the statements presented in the two courts as to the actual recipient of the RM2mil involving the same payment voucher and cheque.

She said the court found the matter relevant to this case, and that the full facts needed to be presented before the court so that the truth would be known.

“The applicant succeeded in showing the court why the requests are necessary and desirable in the interest of the defence’s case and the application should be allowed,” she said.

The trial resumes July 18.

Lim, 62, is 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 January 2011 and August 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim is 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 is former DAP secretary-general, faces 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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