KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — The key prosecution witness in the corruption case involving Lim Guan Eng informed the Sessions Court today that the RM17 million transferred to businessman G. Gnanaraja was meant for closing an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against him.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 65, stated that the money was part of the proceeds from the sale of CZCSB’s land to Zenith Urban Sdn Bhd, of which he (Zarul Ahmad) is one of the directors.

The 23rd prosecution witness was responding to cross-examination by the former chief minister’s lawyer, Haijan Omar, during the proceedings to challenge the witness’s credibility, before Judge Azura Alwi.

Haijan: Do you agree with me that the RM17 million paid to Gnanaraja is part of the RM25 million borrowed by Zenith Urban from Maybank to purchase land?

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Zarul Ahmad: Yes.

However, Zarul Ahmad disagreed with the lawyer’s assertion that he took out the loan solely to bribe Gnanaraja because there was also a land sale agreement in place.

But the witness agreed with Haijan that in his statement to MACC, he said that the RM2 million given to Gnanaraja was borrowed from Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd managing director, Datuk Ng Aun Hooi, while his statement in court indicated that the money was from the sale of land.

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When questioned by another of Lim’s lawyer RSN Rayer, if he had mentioned Lim Guan Eng’s name in his statement to the MACC, Zarul Ahmad said, “I did not mention it”.

Earlier in the proceedings, Azura cautioned the defence against repeatedly asking the same question after Haijan asked Zarul Ahmad a similar question about the source of the RM2 million given to Gnanaraja, saying it would delay the trial.

Azura emphasised that the defence could present its arguments at the end of the proceedings to challenge the credibility of the witness.

“I think you already got the facts, so you don’t need to ask the same questions, what I see is you asking the same question but using different words. If you continue like this, I don’t know when it will end.

“I have to control it because this is my court and this has been going on for too long. It distracts me and I might also lose focus and facts. Maybe you want the witness to answer according to your wishes, but in the end, you will bear the risk. I’m giving a warning on that,” said Azura.

According to the first amended charge, Lim, 63, is accused of using his position as the chief minister of Penang to receive RM3.3 million in bribes by helping Zarul Ahmad’s company be appointed for the Main Roads and Tunnel Construction Project in Penang worth RM6,341,383,702 between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Chief Minister’s Office in Penang.

For the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10 per cent of the project’s profits from Zarul Ahmad as a reward for helping his company secure the same project.

Lim is alleged to have committed these acts near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City in March 2011.

He also faces two charges of disposing of two parcels of land belonging to the Penang State Government worth RM208.8 million to a development company related to the underwater tunnel project, allegedly carried out at the Penang State Land and Mines Office, Komtar on February 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.

The trial resumes on Thursday. — Bernama