Witness in Guan Eng trial told to release messages between suspects linked to him

Ex-Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng is charged with using his position to solicit RM3.3 million in bribes as an inducement to assist a company to secure a project worth moer than RM6.34 billion. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 29, 2022.

THE Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today ordered the eighth prosecution witness in Lim Guan Eng’s corruption trial to produce a digital copy of WhatsApp conversations between two businessmen linked to the former Penang chief minister.

The court issued the order after Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo informed judge Azura Alwi that similar message threads between Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and businessman G. Gnanaraja had been produced in a separate trial in Shah Alam, believed to involve the latter.

Azura also instructed the eighth prosecution witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) forensics department investigating officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof, to provide particulars of the MACC officer who had prepared the forensic report of Zarul’s phone extraction, which was produced at the Shah Alam trial.

For the record, Gnanaraja is one of the prosecution witnesses in Lim’s trial. Gnanaraja had claimed trial at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on April 3, 2019, to three charges of cheating Zarul of RM19 million. Gnararaja was alleged to have deceived Zarul into believing he could help Zarul close an MACC investigation against him.

Earlier, Wan Firdaus had agreed with Gobind’s suggestion that there was a separate forensic report produced, from extraction from the same handphone. 

He testified that the report was produced by another officer from the same department for the Shah Alam trial.

Questioned by Gobind, Wan Firdaus told the court that he only extracted information based on certain dates. 

Gobind: You only extracted information based on certain dates.? You did not see the whole copy? 

Wan Firdaus: Yes.

Gobind: Were you required to see the whole copy? 

Wan Firdaus: No. We needed to find some things that were specific.

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 owner, Zarul, to secure a 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, Kuala Lumpur, in March 2011.

Lim, who is former DAP secretary-general, faces 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.

The trial will continue on October 19. – Bernama, September 29, 2022.

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