Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng cannot be charged again for corruption involving a bungalow purchase, even if new evidence were found, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said.
The DAP lawmaker was referring to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan’s parliamentary reply that the anti-graft authority can reopen investigations into Lim should new evidence be found.
“The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can investigate all it wants but it is barred from further pursuing a charge against Lim in respect of the said bungalow case as the federal constitution expressly prohibits this,” the Bukit Gelugor MP said in a statement.
He cited Article 7(2) of the constitution that prevents “double jeopardy” of a person who has been acquitted or convicted of an offence.
“This applies clearly to Lim’s bungalow case as he was acquitted by the Penang High Court and the said acquittal was not appealed against by the public prosecutor.
“As such, even if new evidence were to emerge in respect of the said case (which is denied), Lim cannot be charged again as a result of further investigations that may be carried out by the MACC for the same case.”
Takiyuddin was replying to Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PAS-Pasir Mas), who asked if Perikatan Nasional will reopen the case.
“In any event, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the MACC before, with the Attorney General’s Chambers later finding the evidence against Lim adduced in Court was weak, resulting in its decision not to pursue the charge further.
“In the circumstances, it makes no sense to further investigate a case when such investigations cannot lead to a charge any longer,” Ramkarpal said.
Lim was discharged and acquitted on September 3, 2018 of graft charges in relation to his purchase of a bungalow home in Jalan Pinhorn, Penang.
Lim was charged with corruption in 2016 for buying the property at below the market price from his former landlady Phang Li Khoon, when he was the chief minister.
The decision follows representation filed by Lim’s lawyers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for the graft charges against the DAP secretary-general to be dropped after Pakatan Harapan won the May 9 general election.
Lim was accused of using his position to seek gratification when he bought the bungalow on July 28, 2015 from Phang at RM2.8 million although the property was said to be valued at RM4.27 million.
Earlier report: Aug 5, MACC Free to Reinvestigate Guan Eng’s Bungalow Case