Penang undersea tunnel case: Guan Eng's defence team receives key witness statement from prosecution

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has received the statement of a key witness from the prosecution in the ongoing Penang undersea tunnel project corruption trial to begin impeachment proceedings.

Lim's counsel, Haijan Omar, informed the Sessions Court that the defence team had received the statement by Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for another case in the Shah Alam.

Judge Azura Alwi then set Feb 26 as the date for the impeachment proceedings to begin.

On Jan 9, Azura allowed the defence to commence impeachment proceedings and listed in court the 31 pages of the statement that would be used for the proceedings.

The document is intended for the defence, which was previously allowed to impeach Zarul Ahmad for his conflicting statements in this court and the previous Shah Alam case involving businessman G. Gnanaraja.

Zarul Ahmad's statement had been produced in a separate trial in Shah Alam in 2019, where Gnanaraja was charged with cheating Zarul Ahmad of RM19mil as an inducement to help drop money laundering charges against the latter.

Zarul Ahmad had earlier told this court that RM2mil was given to Lim in a cash cheque for the Penang undersea tunnel and road construction project, while another RM2mil in cash had been given to Gnanaraja for it to be delivered to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stop MACC's investigation into his company.

The defence team's then-lead counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, disputed this claim, noting that Zarul Ahmad had previously stated in the Shah Alam Sessions Court that the RM2mil was only meant for Najib.

According to the prosecution, Zarul Ahmad later "rectified" his statement to MACC concerning the Shah Alam case.

Lim, 63, 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 in securing 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 DAP chairman and Bagan MP, 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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