The RM208.75 million land swap deal for the Penang undersea tunnel project was approved by the state executive council, not unilaterally, said Lim Guan Eng.
The former Penang chief minister said the land was paid in the form of land swap in accordance with the agreement, between the state government and the contractor.
He was charged last Friday for allegedly misappropriating state-owned land worth RM208.75 million for companies related to the tunnel project.
“The latest two charges on Friday that I had misappropriated government property amounting to RM208 million are baseless and illogical when I had not taken any benefit.
“Furthermore, the land was transferred after the final decision by the council,” he said in a statement today.
The Bagan MP asked if the entire Penang government and its exco are going to be charged as well with sanctioning the deal.
“If I am charged, then will this also lead to the preposterous conclusion that all exco members or the entire state government and its 10,000 workers will also have to be charged?” he asked.
On Friday, Lim was charged for the fourth time with graft in connection with the RM6.3 billion tunnel project contract award to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.
The DAP secretary-general claimed trial to two fresh charges in the Butterworth Sessions Court.
He is accused of misappropriating state government land in Bandar Tg Pinang worth RM135 million, and awarding it to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Ewein Bhd and Consortium Zenith BUCG (later known as Consortium Zenith Construction).
The second charge is of misappropriating state-owned land, also in Bandar Tg Pinang, worth RM73.6 million, for Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd, which is linked to Consortium Zenith Construction.
The offences allegedly were committed on February 17, 2015, and on March 22, 2017, at the Penang Island Land and Mines Office in George Town.
In his statement today, Lim also said the RM208 million payment was a recommendation by an independent expert engineering consultant to senior government officers.
Lim added the payment by land swap was in accordance with the agreement signed between the state government and the contractor, decided by the exco and other technical committees.
“The independent consultant was appointed by open tender. Despite not making the recommendation or decision to pay because I am not an engineer, yet I am the one charged,” he said.
On August 7, Lim was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with soliciting gratification to help a company to secure the tunnel project.
Lim claimed trial to soliciting a 10% bribe from the profits of the billion highway and undersea tunnel projects.
On August 10, he appeared at the Butterworth Sessions Court to face charges of using his position as the Penang chief minister for gratification amounting to RM3.3 million as an inducement to help Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, owned by Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, to secure the project.
He was granted bail of RM1 million in two sureties. – TMI