PUTRAJAYA, Aug 6 ― Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng will be charged in connection with his 2015 purchase of a double-storey standalone house in Penang when he was the state chief minister, a source familiar with the case told Malay Mail tonight.
The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) had earlier confirmed that Lim will be taken to the Penang court on August 11 to face a charge under Section 23 of the MACC Act, without detailing what it was about.
Section 23 prohibits “an officer of public body or public officials” from abusing their power for any gratification for themselves or for their relatives. Those found guilty can be punished with jail up to 20 years and fined no less than five times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence where it can be valued, or RM10,000 if of a pecuniary nature, whichever is higher.
The source from Penang who spoke on condition of anonymity also said businesswoman Phang Li Koon who had sold the house to Lim for RM2.8 million, had been called by the MACC for her statement on the case.
“MACC called Phang tonight,” the source said, declining to elaborate.
However, Malay Mail understands Phang will be spending the night under MACC custody.
The MACC had earlier arrested Lim after calling him in for questioning at its federal headquarters here.
In a statement confirming the arrest, the MACC said the DAP secretary-general will also be facing two charges in connection with the Penang Undersea Tunnel project.
Lim is to be taken to the special corruption court in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and to the Sessions Court in Penang next Monday for the charges under Sections 16(a)(A) and 23 of the MACC Act, respectively.
The High Court acquitted the former finance minister of graft in the house purchase on September 3, 2018 when Pakatan Harapan was in federal power.
Lim had been first charged with abusing his chief minister position for personal gratification under Section 23 of the MACC Act on June 30, 2016.
He was also charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both.
Phang was charged with abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost at the same place and date, under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165 of the same law, which provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.
However, on August 4, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Law Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan told Parliament that the MACC may reopen investigations into Lim’s house purchase if fresh evidence emerges.
Lim was reported to have bought the plot of land and house at 25, Jalan Pinhorn in Penang in October 2015 for RM2.8 million, said to be below market price then. He was serving as the state’s chief minister at the time.
Investigations commenced in March 2016. Lim and Phang were both charged with corruption in June that year.