Guan Eng trial: Gnanaraja’s cheating case classified as NFA

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The investigation paper of the cheating case against businessperson G Gnanaraja linked to the RM6.3 billion Penang Undersea Tunnel project has been classified as “no further action” (NFA).

Deputy public prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat revealed this today during the corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court linked to the same project.

Checks on the MACC website showed that Gnanaraja, 41, was sentenced to a fine of RM230,000 over a charge under Section 218(1)(A) of the Companies Act 2016, by the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Dec 23, 2020.

It is understood that the charge under the Companies Act was an alternative charge that the businessperson pleaded guilty to instead of the cheating charge.

“The investigation paper has been (classified as) NFA, we (the prosecution team conducting the case against Lim) do not have the report (on the Shah Alam case),” Mahadi informed trial judge Azura Alwi.

The prosecutor was responding to lead defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo’s intent to file an application to cite the prosecution for contempt of court for allegedly contravening a court order.

Gnanaraja is a witness yet to be called by the prosecution in the case against Lim.

Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini

Gnanaraja was previously charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on April 3, 2019, for allegedly deceiving a businessperson on three occasions in 2017 into believing he (Gnanaraja) had political connections that could stop the MACC investigation against him (the businessperson).

The Shah Alam court case involved the allegation that Gnanaraja duped the senior executive director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.

Zarul is also a key witness in the prosecution’s case against Lim, whereby he had previously testified that the accused had asked from him 10 percent of future profits in return for Zenith getting the project.

Earlier today during the undersea tunnel graft proceedings before Azura, Gobind had informed that Lim’s defence team would be filing an application to cite the prosecution team for contempt.

The lawyer claimed that this is because prosecutors failed to abide by the court order on Sept 29 for MACC forensic department investigation officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof to produce an image copy of the contents of a phone belonging to Zarul.

The court order is also for the prosecution to furnish details of the report, prepared for the Shah Alam court case, which contained a WhatsApp conversation between Zarul and Gnanaraja.

Gobind’s contempt claim arose following his cross-examination of Firdaus today, whereby the latter testified that he was unable to obtain the details sought by the defence team.

The witness explained that while he had made effort to secure the details, he had trouble trying to obtain them as the defence team did not provide the complete case number for the Shah Alam court case.

Gobind then questioned why this is a problem as DPP Nik Haslinie Hashim, who is a member of the prosecution conducting the case against Lim, also happened to be the same prosecutor involved in the Shah Alam case against Gnanaraja.

The counsel then informed the court that the defence team would be filing the committal application over the allegation that the prosecution is suppressing evidence in the case.

“The prosecution knew the case (in Shah Alam) was NFA (no further action), and the same witnesses from that case were brought here (to testify in Guan Eng’s corruption trial).

“I didn’t know this until we conducted cross-examination previously. Then I got the information and went to check. Why did they not disclose this to us?

“They went before the Sessions Court judge in Shah Alam, told a different story and retracted the case there, and tell a different story here.

FMT

“They have been suppressing evidence since day one. This is a case that will be looked at by the whole country,” he said.

The judge then ordered Gobind to file the application within three weeks, before fixing a date to decide on the matter.