Witness: Guan Eng asked for 10% cut from undersea tunnel project

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Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng asked for a 10% cut from the undersea tunnel project as a bribe, a prosecution witness told the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, a director of Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group (CZBUGC), the company awarded the project, said he was in disbelief when Lim had made that request in March 2011.

“I was in disbelief that the request came out of his mouth, a person whom I always thought was against corruption.

“From what I understood, the 10% is meant as a bribe, that I should give him 10% from the profit my company would make when it was awarded the project.

“Lim smiled when I told him that I agreed, and he said his officers and himself would assist me in providing all the information needed,” Zarul, the 23rd prosecution witness was reported as saying in the trial yesterday.

 

The witness alleged that between 8pm and 9pm on a night in March, he had met Lim at an Italian restaurant on Jalan Ampang, with then de facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz. Zarul claimed that nothing about the undersea tunnel project was discussed, and that the trio only had casual chats.

He said that around 11.45pm, Lim asked to be taken back to where he was staying, at Hotel Gardens at Midvalley, Kuala Lumpur.

The witness claimed that while in the car, Lim supposedly asked him for 10% future profit on the island state’s RM6.3 billion project.

Consortium Zenith Construction is the main contractor for the undersea tunnel project.

Lim is facing four charges of using his position as the then chief minister to solicit gratification to help CZBUGC secure the tunnel project.

Saifullizan Tamadi/NST

He is also accused of receiving RM3.3 million and allowing two plots of land belonging to the state government to be disposed of to two companies linked to the tunnel project.

Zarul also told the court that Lim had first promised he would award the project via direct negotiation, but this was changed to an open tender later.

Zarul said at that time, he was disappointed that Lim had made a ‘U-turn’.

He added that Lim had, however, promised to help him win the project tender.

“Lim had instructed his officers to give their full co-operation to me and asked that the request for proposal be expedited,” he said.

Previously, Lim’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, applied to see Zarul’s statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) during its investigation into the case.

“The witness mentioned clearly that he was arrested and remanded by the MACC over the tunnel project, and we want to make an application for the documents in relation to that,” Gobind said, adding that there were contradictions in the statements made by the witness to the MACC and the witness statement he read in court yesterday.

However, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin opposed the motion, saying that the defence can make the application after Zarul had finished reading his testimony.

Judge Azura Alwi agreed with the prosecution and said she would hear the defence’s bid for the documents before the cross-examination starts.

The trial continues on March 23.