Guan Eng trial: Zarul complains of heart palpitations following intense cross-examination by Gobind

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Zarul had attempted to get excused from the trial.

The prosecution’s star witness in Lim Guan Eng’s corruption trial told the Sessions Court today that he had instructed his lawyers to recover a sum of RM19 million from businessman G Gnanaraja.

According to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, the money paid to Gnanaraja was in exchange for dropping ongoing graft investigations in relation to the Penang undersea tunnel project after the latter defrauded him.

Zarul made the disclosure when the defence asked him to clarify a letter of demand (LOD) for the return of the money and if had explicitly stated that the RM19 million was to be “held in trust” by Gnanaraja on consultation works done.

Zarul previously told the court he had paid the RM19 million to conmen who claimed to be the “powers that be”, in exchange for investigations to be dropped.

Gnanaraja was named by Zarul as one of the conmen.

Under questioning from Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, Zarul repeatedly said he only wanted the money to be returned.

“I can’t remember the exact wording but that was the gist of it. The gist of it is I wanted my money back.

Raymond Ooi/The Star

“The purpose of the money was to give to Gnanaraja to supposedly pass to the prime minister,” Zarul replied, in reference to Datuk Seri Najib Razak who held the post back then.

Gnanaraja was said to have close ties with Najib.

As Lim looked on from the dock, the atmosphere in court began to heat up during the exchange between Gobind and Zarul.

When suggested that the RM19 million was given to Gnanaraja to be held in trust as stated in the LOD, Zarul told the court that he was unable to recall the exact wording and repeated that he merely wanted his money back.

Irked by Zarul’s unchanging response, Gobind asked the witness to answer his question directly on whether the RM19 million was given to Gnanaraja to be held in trust.

Zarul then told Gobind to ask Shahrul Hamidi & Haziq — the law firm that he engaged and provided the LOD service at that time.

“You have to ask my lawyer. I just told my lawyers I want my money back,” Zarul Ahmad said, adding that he was informed that Gnanaraja did not respond to his correspondence.

Later, Zarul informed the court he was experiencing heart palpitations and sought for proceedings to be halted for the day.

Zarul: Your Honour, I need to be excused, I do not feel well.

Gobind: You came to court (this morning).

Zarul: The deputy public prosecutor asked me to come to court.

Azura: What did the doctor diagnose (during the check-up yesterday)?

Zarul: My (blood) pressure is up, my heart is palpitating, he (doctor) asked me to see a specialist.

Gobind: If you need medical assistance, I have no objection, just let me finish (my cross-examination).

At this juncture, Azura called for a short break before resuming.

When proceedings resumed, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said they have handed a copy of the doctor’s letter to the court on the witness’ health condition.

Gobind: Are you okay to proceed?

Zarul: Can I take a break today? I really do not feel well.

Azura then adjourned proceedings to tomorrow morning.