Renovations on Guan Eng’s house totalled RM121,131, High Court told

Lim Guan Eng leaves the Penang High Court in George Town March 27, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lim Guan Eng leaves the Penang High Court in George Town March 27, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, March 27 — The total renovation costs, including labour, on house number 25, on Pinhorn Road here came to RM121,131 in 2009, a contractor said during the corruption trial of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today.

Chong Eng Tong of ET Construction told the High Court that he was approached by a person named “Ah Yong” to undertake renovation works on the house in early 2009.

He said the renovations on the house included expanding the living room, kitchen and dining area, putting in marble flooring, building a security guard house and a car park area.

“At the start of the renovation works, I did not know that this house was for the Penang chief minister but when I was constructing the guard house that I realised it was for the chief minister as I had asked Ah Yong about it,” he said when reading out his witness statement.

He said payment for RM105,543.22 worth of renovations was settled by cheques in July 2009 while he also received two cash payments of RM6,252.81 and RM9,335 respectively in May 2009.

“I confirm that the cheques amounting RM50,000 and RM55,500 were part of the payment made to me by Miss Phang for renovation works on 25, Pinhorn Road,” he said, referring to the house owner at that time, Phang Li Koon.

He also said Phang visited the house to check on the renovation works once or twice.

Earlier, another witness, Teoh Poh Huat, a director of real estate company, Henry Butcher, said he had signed a valuation report on the house at number 25 Pinhorn Road for loan/ credit security purposes applied by Phang.

He said the valuation was conducted by Henry Butcher Assistant Manager Yeoh Peng Hong on November 21, 2008.

“Based on the comparison method where transactions of properties nearby were compared, the reasonable market value for the house at that time was RM2.5 million,” he said.

He said the forced sale value for the property was RM1.85 million while the fire insurance value was RM600,000.

Chong and Teoh were two of the total 14 witnesses to testify in Penang chief minister Lim and Phang’s graft trial.

Both Lim and businesswoman were charged with graft over his house purchase deal in 2015.

Lim is charged with using his position as a public officer to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential purpose during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.

Lim is alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015.

Phang meanwhile was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim on July 28 last year in regards to his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million which was below the market value or RM4.27 million whereby Lim had allegedly committed an offense under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

A total 14 witnesses have been called to testify for the trial today while 11 witnesses have already testified yesterday.

The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud, is expected to call in 54 witnesses throughout the whole trial.

This is the first week of the trial before adjourning until April 9.

The case will then be heard from April 9 to 12, April 23 to 27, May 7 to 10 and May 21 to 25 this year.

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