Guan Eng trial: I was not coached to lie, says prosecution witness

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior company official has denied that he was taught to lie in his court testimonies linked to the Penang undersea tunnel graft case against former chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

Azli Adam, 58, the former senior president of finance and corporate services for Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG), told the Sessions Court during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mokhtar here that he was never asked by any parties to lie in his testimonies in an earlier case in the Shah Alam Sessions Court or in the ongoing trial.

Mohd Mukhzany: Were you asked at any time when called by the MACC in 2018 and 2020 to change your case statements in Shah Alam or in today's case?

Azli: No.

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Azli also denied it when asked if anyone from the MACC, his superior (CZBUCG owner) Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, or any DPPs had coached him to give a statement to the graft buster.

Earlier, during cross-examination by lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo, he contended that Zarul Ahmad, Azli and several other prosecution witnesses had lied as they gave different testimonies during a separate criminal case at the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2019.

The contention was about who was the recipient of RM2mil involving the same payment voucher and cheque, as shown in the forensic report from the Shah Alam court case, as there were two different versions of the statements in the two courts.

Azli, who is the 28th prosecution witness and was recalled to the stand Thursday (July 20), told the court he had testified in Shah Alam, which involved several of the same witnesses.

When asked, he confirmed that the RM2mil cheque involved in the Shah Alam case and the one in the ongoing trial is the same one, bearing the same number.

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

He also confirmed that he did not tell this court that his statement - about the same cheque, invoices and the bag that contained the cash - was used in the earlier case in Shah Alam.

When grilled further after Gobind referred to his action of not informing the court as "terrible", Azli said he did not raise it because he was not asked.

Gobind: Why didn't you tell us?

Azli: I was not asked.

Gobind: By whom? Was it the DPP who did not ask you?

Azli: The DPP already knows.

Gobind: Because they already know, but they didn't do it. Isn't it a suppression of evidence?

Azli: No, because the DPP already knows.

Gobind: Not on your part but theirs.

Azli: I see, OK.

This led DPP Mohd Mukhzany to stand up and object to say that the witness would not be aware of what the DPP knew.

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

This led to a war of words between the DPP and the lead counsel, prompting Sessions judge Azura Alwi to intervene and tell the defence counsel to continue with his question.

Gobind: They knew, but they did not inform. That's a terrible thing, isn't it, when evidence is gone?

Azli: I don't think it's terrible because the DPP already knows.

However, when re-examined by lead DPP Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Azli said he did not understand most of the questions that Gobind asked him, including the part where the lawyer mentioned “suppression of evidence”.

When asked by Gobind, Azli told the court that he did not have personal knowledge of whether or not the RM2mil was given to Lim.

He said he only received instructions from Zarul Ahmad to withdraw the money from the company’s accounts.

“Only Datuk Zarul (knows where the money went),” he said.

Azli had testified in June last year that Zarul Ahmad had confided in him that some of the documents that he (Azli) had fabricated under his directive were to facilitate payments of bribes to Lim.

He said Zarul Ahmad made that confession to him and Ibrahim Sahari, another senior executive director of CZBUCG, after his (Zarul Ahmad's) arrest by the MACC in January 2018.

In the Shah Alam case, businessman G Gnanaraja was charged 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 in the ongoing trial, while Gnanaraja is expected to be called as a prosecution witness soon.

The trial resumes on Friday (July 21).

ALSO READ: Chocs for the big boss: RM2mil not meant for Guan Eng but for a former premier, graft trial hears

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 Zarul Ahmad to secure the undersea tunnel 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 two further 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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