Charges based on the mentality of “blaming everything on him”.
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng lashed out against his two new corruption charges today, describing them as “flimsy” and a possible attempt to derail DAP’s election efforts.
The party secretary-general had earlier been slapped with two counts of misappropriating state land worth RM208.7 million to two companies in the Butterworth Sessions Court.
Lim said the charges were related to the undersea tunnel and roads project, which was awarded through an open tender in 2013 and which he was questioned five times by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission before.
He insisted that he was not involved in the tender process.
“How can there be corruption when no corruption money was discovered in my possession?” he told reporters at his Bagan parliamentary office after his court appearance.
Lim said the five charges he now faces, ranging from corruption to abuse of power, are baseless and politically motivated, and an attempt at tarnishing his reputation.
“I will prove my innocence in court, particularly when no gratification or corruption money was found in either my personal bank account or in my possession in cash,” he said.
He said the timing of the charges could be an attempt at affecting his party’s chances in the Sabah state polls on Sept 26 and the next general election.
Lim also thanked supporters who had contributed RM10 each to his “Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng Fund” launched by Penang DAP last month, which has since collected RM4 million.
In response to the prosecution calling the case the mother of all cases, Lim said: “This is more like a mother of all ‘Ini semua salah Lim Guan Eng’ cases.”
He added that the charges were based on the mentality of “blaming everything on him”.
He claimed there were four contradictions in the charges against him, the first of which was that no corruption money was discovered in his possession.
He pointed out the undersea tunnel project was awarded by open tender while decisions were many by state government officials, the state exco and relevant specialised technical committees and not him alone.
“How can there be corruption or abuse of power when payments made to CZBUCG must be approved by Penang state government officials after getting consent from an independent professional engineering consulting firm appointed by open tender,” he asked.
He also pointed out that CZBUCG had in 2019 publicly denied bribing any Penang state government officers and that MACC had cleared the company and its chairman of any bribery or corrupt acts.
Lim claimed the MACC had been used or misused to conduct this “political witch hunt” against him “based on flimsy evidence”.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin told reporters the two new charges against Lim were the “mother of all charges”.
He said today’s charges were related to the first and second charges, which Lim faced in Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur last month, related to the controversial Penang Undersea Tunnel.
“We got the body, and now the tail,” Wan Shaharuddin said, adding that these were the last charges related to the Penang Undersea Tunnel project.
Asked his chances of winning, the prosecutor said: “Our policy in AGC is that we only prosecute when we have a 99 percent chance of conviction.”
“The other one percent is the Act of God. We cannot say we have 100 percent chances of winning,” he added.
Ten prosecution witnesses will be called for this case, and all are in Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier, Lim arrived at the court grounds at 10.40am accompanied by his wife Betty Chew, his father and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and his sister Lim Hooi Ying.
Members of the media gathered at the courthouse before 9am and the crowd had swelled to about 100 people, including politicians, party members and supporters by 10am.
Among those present were Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim, state exco members Zairil Khir Johari, Soon Lip Chee, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee, Bagan Dalam assemblyman M Satees, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng and several city councillors.
Lim pleaded not guilty before Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid. His legal team is made up of Gobind Singh Deo, Ramkarpal Singh, RSN Rayer and Sivanesan Achalingam.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Sharuddin Wan Ladin today applied for the case to be transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to be heard with other charges filed there, as was done for Lim’s other graft cases in Penang previously.