Guan Eng's corruption case: RM2 million was for intermediary to strengthen ties with Najib, says witness

21 Jul 2023 04:09pm
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for corruption trial. - Photo by Bernama
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for corruption trial. - Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - A former director of a construction company told the Sessions Court here today that the alleged RM2 million given to Lim Guan Eng was for a businessman said to be a close friend of (then prime minister) Datuk Seri Najib Razak as an intermediary to secure future projects for the company.

Former director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) Ibrahim Sahari, 59, who is a prosecution witness, said the matter was revealed during a meeting of the company’s board of directors by Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli (also CZCSB director).

He said Zarul Ahmad disclosed the matter after realising that he had been deceived by G. Gnanaraja, the businessman who is claimed to be close to Najib.

Ibrahim said this when questioned by Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo in the former Penang Chief Minister’s corruption trial before Judge Azura Alwi.

Gobind Singh had referred to a cheating case involving Gnanaraja in the Shah Alam Sessions Court, during which Ibrahim testified that the purpose of the RM2 million payment was to strengthen the relationship between Zarul Ahmad and the (then) prime minister in order to obtain projects in the future.

Ibrahim also agreed with Gobind Singh that the payment had nothing to do with Lim.

Lim is facing four charges involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and a major road construction project in Penang worth RM6.3 billion.

Gnanaraja was charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on April 3, 2019, to three charges of cheating Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli of RM19 million.

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He was alleged to have deceived Zarul Ahmad into believing that he could help him close the MACC investigation against him linked to the same project.

During the proceeding today, Ibrahim also agreed with Gobind, who said that Gnanaraja had demanded RM19 million from Zarul Ahmad, including the RM2 million which was the main subject of the charges facing Lim.

Ibrahim also told the court that his company had sued and sent a notice of demand to Gnanaraja to return the RM19 million.

The hearing before Judge Azura Alwi continues on Aug 7.

Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as the then Penang Chief Minister to accept a bribe of RM3.3 million in helping a company owned by Zarul Ahmad to obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702 at the Office of the Chief Minister of Penang, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town between Jan 2011 and Aug 2017.

On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe from Zarul Ahmad, namely 10 per cent of the company’s profits, as an inducement for obtaining the project and is accused of committing the act near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here on March 2011.

He is also facing two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million owned by the Penang government to be disposed of to companies allegedly linked to the undersea tunnel project.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, 21st Floor, Komtar on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017. - BERNAMA