KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — The Sessions Court here today heard that former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had asked for 10 per cent of the profit to be made by Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group (CZBUCG) in the project of constructing three main roads and an undersea tunnel in the state.
This was revealed by CZBUCG owner, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 62, himself when reading out his witness statement at the trial of Lim who is facing four charges involving the construction project worth RM6.3 billion.
CZBUCG is a joint-venture company with Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd (BUCG) which had been appointed to carry out the project.
The 23rd prosecution witness said he was shocked when the matter (request of 10 per cent from the profit) came out from the Bagan MP’s mouth, causing him to think about it for a while as he did not expect this from someone who had been against corruption all this while.
“What I understood was that the 10 per cent was a bribe out of my company’s profit which I had to give to Lim when awarded with the project. Then I agreed with the request.
“Lim was smiling after I said that I agreed to give him that percentage of the profit from the project and YB Lim said that he or his officers would assist in providing whatever information I needed for the project,” he said.
He added that the discussion took place in his car when he and Lim were on their way to The Gardens Hotel in Mid Valley at midnight in March 2011.
Zarul Ahmad said Lim told him that China’s prime minister would be visiting Malaysia and a number of memorandums of understanding (MoU) would be signed and Lim suggested that he arrange an MoU-signing between BUGG and the Penang government, to be witnessed by China’s PM.
He said Lim also told him that if he could hold the MoU-signing ceremony. The project would be awarded through direct negotiation.
“At that time, I was very excited about it. I agreed to hold the MoU-signing as suggested by Lim. I was happy, confident and believe in what Lim had said that he would give the project to me estimated to be worth RM7 billion,” he added,
The witness said that in May 2011, he met with Lim and demanded that the project be awarded to his company as promised and via direct negotiation but instead, Lim told him that he had to call for open tender for the project.
“I felt disappointed as YB Lim had made a U-turn. But he promised me that he would help me get the project by ordering his officers to give me full cooperation in this matter.
“Lim also asked that the request for proposal (RFP) be speeded up and also asked that BUCG assist his officers and Datuk Lim Hock Seng (former state exco member) in preparing the RFP
“Although the giving of the award had been changed to via open tender, my company won the tender and I was grateful to Lim and Hock Seng who helped me and my company a lot in making early preparations in competing for the tender,” he said.
On his relations with Lim, the witnesse said that former tourism and culture minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had introduced him to Lim around January 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel and they exchanged phone numbers.
“At that time, I also took the opportunity to offer BUGG’s services to Lim in case there were infrastructure projects in Penang that I could participate in on behalf of BUCG. Lim appeared interested and said that he would be contacting me,” he recalled, adding that in February 2011, he met with Lim at the latter’s office, with Lim briefing him on the building of three main roads and an undersea tunnel.
Zarul Ahmad said that Lim explained the project in general and stated that the project would be financed through a land swap and not the usual payment method.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister at that time to receive a bribe of RM3.3 million in helping the company owned by Zarul Ahmad to obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702. The offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town between January 2011 and August 2017.
For the second amended charge, he is alleged to solicit from Zarul Ahmad, 10 per cent of the profit to be gained by the company in appreciation of obtaining the project. Lim is accused of committing this offence near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here, in March 2011.
The DAP secretary-general is also facing two other charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million belonging to the Penang government be disposed of to two companies claimed to be connected to the undersea tunnel project.
He is charged with committing the offences at the Penang Land and Mines Department, 21st Floor, Komtar on February 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.
The trial before judge Azura Alwi will continue on March 23, 2022. — Bernama