Lim Guan Eng Charged with Corruption

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Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng was charged with corruption in the Kuala Lumpur Special Corruption Court today over the controversial RM6.3 billiong Penang undersea tunnel project.

Seth Akmal/TMI

He will face two charges for abuse of power in the Penang Sessions Court next Monday.

The next day, he is expected to face another two abuse of power charges pertaining to another case in the Penang Sessions Court.

Lim served as Penang chief minister between 2008 and 2018.

It is believed that the charges in Penang involved the purchase of a bungalow and land in the state in 2015.

According to sources, prosecutors are expected to apply for all of the cases to be jointly tried in Kuala Lumpur.

Lim was arrested late last night at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters.

Today’s proceedings:

7.58am: The crowd at the Duta Court Complex in KL starts to build up, made up mostly of media members. No sign of Lim’s supporters yet.

8.29am: Only 10 reporters allowed to cover the proceedings in the open court.

Bernama

8.30am: A sport utility vehicle (SUV), with Lim inside is seen leaving the MACC headquarters and believed heading to the Court Complex at Jalan Duta. The Proton X70 was escorted by police patrol cars and motorcycles.

8.33am: DAP supporters start to arrive.

8.37am: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P Ramasamy arrives.

8.44am: Xavier Jayakumar and M Kula among Pakatan Harapan leaders seen arriving at Duta Court Complex.

8.52am: DAP leader Hannah Yeoh arrives.

8.55am: Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil arrives.

FMT

8.57am: DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and Tony Pua are seen arriving.

9am: Among those present are Pakatan leaders Anthony Loke, Liew Chin Tong, Tan Kok Wai, Fong Kui Lun, Wong Tack, Wong Kah Who, Chong Eng, Khoo Poay Tiong and Maria Chin.

9.04am: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow arrives.

9.07am: Lim, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, arrives at Duta Court Complex escorted by MACC officers. He had spent the night at the MACC headquarters.

FMT

Accompanying Lim were his lawyers Gobind, Ramkarpal and Rayer.

The prosecution team is headed by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, who is assisted by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib.

9.35am: Lim enters the courtroom and immediately walks towards his father, who is seated in the public gallery. They hug each other over the railings before other DAP leaders approach and fist-bump their leader. Lim then proceeds to the dock.

9.47am: Judge Azura Alwi enters the court. Proceedings have started.

9.51am: Lim is charged with corruption over the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project. He is accused of requesting 10% of the profits from Datuk Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli as a bribe in order to get the contract for the project.

Zarul is the senior executive director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC), the firm which was awarded the project.

He is accused of committing the offence nearby the Gardens Hotel along Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, within the capital, in March 2011, when he held the position of chief minister.

The MACC charge Lim under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009, which carries a fine up to five times the value of the bribe or RM10,000, and imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.

The charge is read out to Lim in Malay, who responds with “not guilty” in Malay when asked for his plea.

9.56am: DPP Wan Shaharuddin requests that bail be set at RM2 million.

He also asks the court to order Lim to report to the MACC headquarters on the first of every month, and not to contact any witness involved in the case.

“If there is any attempt to do so, his bail must be revoked immediately,” he says, adding that his application to have Lim surrender his passport is to prevent any attempt to abscond.

“This offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years and there lies every possibility of one absconding,” he adds.

The DPP says corruption has become a cancer in the country, and serious measures need to be taken to tackle the problem. Malaysia, he says, could collapse if this is not done.

10.01am: However, Gobind pleads for lower bail and argues that there is no need for anyone to fear that his client would flee, as he had extended his full cooperation to investigators all this while.

He also pleads for the court to allow Lim to pay part of the bail today and the rest on Monday.

10.14am: Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi sets bail at RM1 million in two sureties, with RM500,000 to be paid today and the balance by Monday. She also orders Lim to surrender both his international and diplomatic passports to the court.

10.19am: Court proceedings are over, with next mention of the case set for Sept 9.