PUTRAJAYA, Nov 16 — The hearing of former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's corruption case involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and paired road project in Penang, will remain in the Sessions Court.
This followed a decision by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin today in unanimously dismissing Lim’s appeal to transfer his corruption trial from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
Judge Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, when delivering the court's decision, said Lim’s approach in using Section 417 of the Criminal Procedure Code, specifically for the trial to be held at the High Court as a platform to bring his appeal to the Federal Court should not be allowed.
(For cases starting in the Sessions Court, the appeal will end in the Court of Appea,l while cases starting in the High Court will end in the Federal Court)
Che Mohd Ruzima said there was no mistake made by the High Court judge in ruling that had Lim failed to meet the requirements under Section 417 (1) (b) and Section 417 (1) (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The two legal questions raised by Lim did not belong to extraordinary legal questions or had never been decided by any court before, he added.
As such, he said, Lim's appeal was therefore dismissed and the High Court's decision upheld.
Also sitting on the panel was judge Datuk Hashim Hamzah.
Lim, who is Bagan Member of Parliament, had filed an appeal against High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin’s decision in dismissing his application to transfer his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.
Lim is facing four charges involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads in Penang worth RM6.3 billion.
According to the first amended charge, Lim is accused of using his position as Penang Chief Minister to obtain a bribe of RM3.3 million as inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to secure the construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.
Lim allegedly committed the offence at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, Level 28, Komtar, George Town, between Jan 2011 and Aug 2017.
In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10 per cent 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 here, between 12.30 am and 2 am in March 2011.
Lim, who is also 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 two offences were allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Level 21, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.
A total of 11 prosecution witnesses have testified in the hearing of the case which started on July 13 this year. The trial is scheduled to continue on Nov 29 before judge Azura Alwi.
A panel of lawyers headed by Gobind Singh Deo is representing Lim, while the prosecution is represented by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.
Meanwhile, Gobind Singh, when met by reporters, he would get further instruction from his client whether or not to appeal against today’s decision at the Federal Court. — Bernama