Businessman pleads not guilty in RM19m Penang undersea tunnel graft case

G. Gnanaraja is brought to the Sessions Court in Shah Alam April 3, 2019. — Bernama pic
G. Gnanaraja is brought to the Sessions Court in Shah Alam April 3, 2019. — Bernama pic

SHAH ALAM, April 3 — A businessman with the title of “Datuk Seri” was charged in the Sessions Court here today with three counts of cheating a managing director of RM19 million in a graft probe on the Penang Undersea Tunnel Project two years ago.

G. Gnanaraja, 38, however, pleaded not guilty after all the charges were read out before judge Rozilah Salleh.

He was alleged to have deceived the managing director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd  into believing that he (Gnanaraja) was able to close an investigation initiated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against him (victim) for an offence under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The act prompted the managing director to hand over to him (Gnanaraja) cash of RM4 million and another RM15 million through a Maybank account belonging to Visione Construction Sdn Bhd to a CIMB Bank account belonging to Bumi Muhibbah Capital Holding Sdn Bhd.

Gnanaraja was alleged to have committed all the offences at a hotel in Damansara and a bank in Kuala Lumpur in July and August 2017.

He was charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code and faced an imprisonment for up to 10 years and whipping and is liable to fine, if found guilty.

Consortium Zenith Construction is the main contractor for the undersea tunnel project.

The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar, from MACC, offered bail of RM100,000 in one surety.

Lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, representing Gnanaraja, did not object to it.

Following which, Rozilah allowed Gnanaraja to be released on bail of RM100,000 in one surety and also ordered him to surrender his passport to the court.

The court set May 6 for mention. — Bernama