KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — A former company executive director told the Sessions Court today he was acting in the company’s interest by following orders to prepare forged documents intended to disguise cash payments as bribes to former chief minister Lim Guan Eng in relation to the Penang undersea tunnel project.
Testifying against Lim, Ibrahim Sahari said Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who is implicated in Lim’s corruption trial, had instructed him and Azli Adam to prepare “dummies” for payment vouchers and invoices used to disguise cash payments made by the company to its true recipient and intended purpose.
At the material time, Ibrahim was senior executive director of finance and corporate service in Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) and was in charge of supervising the company accounts, finance and approving company cheques as a signatory.
Azli was senior vice president of finance and corporate service in CZCSB and in charge of managing the company accounts including the preparation of payment vouchers, cheques and invoices.
Zarul Ahmad was one of the directors of CZCSB at the time as well and had previously testified he gave Lim a total of RM3.3 million on several occasions from 2013 to 2017.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, Ibrahim who is also the 29th prosecution witness, said he was aware that forgery was a criminal offence.
However, the witness disagreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that he alongside Zarul Ahmad and Azli were ‘master’ fabricators.
When asked to describe what kind of an individual he was, Ibrahim said he was one that obeyed orders for the interest of the company.
Ibrahim: I am a person who obeys orders.
Gobind: A person who obeys orders?
Ibrahim: Obey orders for the company’s interest.
Ibrahim also agreed to the lawyer’s suggestion that he has not personally witnessed whether the money withdrawn by Zarul Ahmad was indeed paid or used by its intended recipient.
Ibrahim had earlier confirmed the forgeries involving the payment vouchers and invoices were issued under three relatively inactive companies: Sinar Bina Consultancy Services (SBCS), Jurutera Konsult Maju Sdn Bhd (JKMSB) and Bintang Ria Engineering (BRE).
He also told the court that said “dummies” were used for financial record purposes to avoid issues with auditors.
Earlier in his witness statement, Ibrahim said Zarul Ahmad had made a purported confession to him after the latter was remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) around January 2018 over its probe into the case.
“However, Datuk Zarul did not inform me of the amount and method of payment for bribes given to Lim Guan Eng,” he said.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister to receive RM3.3 million in bribes to help Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd to obtain the undersea tunnel project.
On the second amended charge, Lim was accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10 per cent of the profits of the company from businessman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli as gratification for getting the project.
Lim, who is also former DAP secretary-general, is also faced with two charges of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies, which are linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.
The trial resumes before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi on July 25.