A businessman who was awarded the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project by the Penang government told the Kuala Lumpur sessions court today that he had no “evil motive” in giving evidence against former chief minister Lim Guan Eng.
Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli maintained that he was not “making up stories” against Lim.
“I have no malicious motives against YB Lim and never once made up stories or issued false remarks in regards to my statement.
“In fact, I am indebted to YB Lim for the awarding of the mega project by the Penang state government where I was lifted from someone unknown to a prominent businessman,” he said in his witness statement.
“I stand by what I told the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) during its investigations,” he added.
Zarul also testified handing RM200,000 to Lim between August 2013 and January 2014 as part of a 2011 pledge he made to give 10 percent of future profits on the construction of three roads and an undersea tunnel in Penang.
“For the first payment, after I managed to secure an appointment through YB Lim’s office in Komtar, I prepared an envelope where I put in the RM100,000,” he said.
“During the meeting, I handed over the envelope containing the cash to YB Lim. I did not tell him how much was inside the envelope.
“I only mentioned ‘this is for you, sir’, and he took the envelope from me.”
He said Lim was smiling when he took the envelope from him.
For the second payment, Zarul said he withdrew another RM100,000 to pay Lim before Chinese New Year in 2014.
“I met Lim again in Komtar in the evening. I brought an envelope containing RM100,000 cash with me.
“When I handed over the envelope to YB Lim, he did not reject it and did not ask what was inside,” he said, adding that Lim also looked happy when he received the envelope.
Zarul admitted in court that he is aware doing so was an offence, but defended his action, saying anyone in his position would repay the kindness of those who helped them.
“I also know that any act of asking for anything in return and giving money in connection with a project is also an offence as all of these things involve elements of corruption that are against the law,” he said.
Investigations related to the undersea tunnel project started in 2016.
Zarul said the content of a purported MACC witness’ statement by him, which was leaked online a few years ago, was false.
“My signature and that of the recording officer were not there,” he said.
Zarul also told the court he was under stress when the undersea tunnel case came under public scrutiny.
“I was remanded by the MACC for 11 days. Every effort that I had put into the project was almost destroyed. I couldn’t secure bank loans and other people in the business community refused to help me,” he said.
Lim is standing trial on charges of using his position as then Penang chief minister to ask Zarul for a 10% cut of profits from the undersea tunnel project and accepting RM3.3 million in kickbacks from the businessman.
He is also accused of two counts of dishonestly misappropriating RM208.7 million worth of state land to two companies.
The hearing before judge Azura Alwi continues tomorrow.