KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The prosecution’s key witness in the corruption case involving Lim Guan Eng told the Sessions Court here today that the former Penang chief minister’s name only cropped up in 2019 more than a year after the investigation into the case involving businessman G. Gnanaraja.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 65, told this to the court when lawyer RSN Rayer, representing Lim, referred to his (Zarul Ahmad) statement that was recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the case involving Gnanaraja in the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2018.

Zarul Ahmad told the court that he did not mention Lim’s name in his statement to the MACC on January 19 and 20, March 9 and September 5, 2018, but the DAP chairman’s name was only mentioned when the MACC recorded his statement on December 9, 2019.

He concurred with the lawyer that he mentioned Lim’s name in his statement to the MACC because of the testimony of former CZCSB director Ibrahim Sahari.

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Zarul Ahmad, who is the 23rd prosecution witness also agreed stating that he handed over RM19 million to Gnanaraja to be given to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was the prime minister then, in his statement to the MACC on January 19 and 20, March 9, and September 5, 2018.

The witness also agreed with Rayer that throughout the investigation, the MACC did not ask him to submit any documents about the declaration of property declaration and the Money Laundering Act.

Zarul Ahmad also told the court that he felt stressed and tired because he was in MACC’s custody for 11 days for questioning regarding the Penang undersea tunnel case before being called by MACC to record his statement concerning Gnanaraja’s case.

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“After testifying on September 5, 2018, I did not leave the house for about two months. I had anxiety and I felt very depressed at that time,” he said.

At today’s proceedings, the prosecution was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutors Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and Mahadi Abdul Jumaat.

The hearing before Judge Azura Alwi continues on April 1.

On November 2 last year, Judge Azura allowed Lim’s application to commence impeachment proceedings against the key prosecution witness to ascertain if there were discrepancies between Zarul Ahmad’s statement recorded by the MACC for the case involving Gnanaraja and his testimony in the Sessions Court here.

Lim is facing four corruption charges involving the proposed construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads project in Penang.

On the first charge, Lim is alleged to have abused his power as then Penang chief minister to obtain RM3.3 million in monetary gratification as an inducement to appoint Zarul’s company to implement the RM6,341,383,702 undersea tunnel project and construction of main roads in the state.

He is alleged to have committed the offence between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.

On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of asking Zarul for 10 per cent of profits as a reward for helping his company secure the said projects.

Lim is alleged to have committed the offence at The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.

He is also facing two other charges for dishonestly disposing of two plots of land belonging to the Penang government in Bandar Tanjong Pinang worth RM208 million to the developer of the undersea tunnel project, which was allegedly committed at the State Land and Mines Office in Komtar on February 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017. — Bernama