I want my RM19 million back, says witness

09 Aug 2022 04:07pm
Zarul is one of the witness called over the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project. Photo: BERNAMA
Zarul is one of the witness called over the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project. Photo: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - A company director told the Sessions Court today that he tried to retrieve the RM19 million which was given to a middleman allegedly close to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to stop the investigation into the controversial Penang undersea tunnel project.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 62, said he sent a Letter of Demand (LOD) to the middleman, known as G. Gnanaraja through his lawyers from Messrs Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq to get his money back.

"I don’t remember the exact wording (in the LOD). The gist of the LOD is I want my RM19 million back,” he said when questioned by Lim Guan Eng’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo whether he was aware that the words ‘held on trust’ were written in the LOD.

Gobind: In order to get your money back, you must explain why it was with him (Gnanaraja) in the first place. You instructed your lawyers to send the LOD. In the LOD, it was written the money was ‘held on trust’.

Zarul: I gave the money to Gnanaraja, supposedly to be given to the prime minister. You (Gobind) have to ask my lawyer. I just told my lawyer to get my money back. I have no idea how my lawyer worded the LOD.

To another question by the lawyer, the 23rd prosecution witness said he had no knowledge about the second investigation against Gnanaraja, where the middleman denied he cheated Zarul of the RM19 million.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin told the court that the prosecution was unable to produce the WhatsApp messages between the witness and Gnanaraja, as requested by the defence, as the investigation papers regarding Gnanaraja’s case had been shredded.

Gobind then requested for the phone containing the WhatsApp messages to be opened in court.

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Judge Azura Alwi granted the lawyer’s request and said the court would set a later date to call the forensic team in order to open the phone during the proceedings.

Today’s proceedings was cut short after the witness complained that he was not well as he suffered from high blood pressure and heart palpitations and was asked by his doctor to see a specialist about his condition.

The trial continues tomorrow.

Lim, 61, is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang Chief Minister to solicit RM3.3 million in bribes as an inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 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 is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10 per cent 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, a former DAP secretary-general, faced another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project. - BERNAMA

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