Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli today testified that he bought former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng a watch worth RM43,000 as a 55th birthday present in December 2015.
The 23rd prosecution witness said he brought the Maurice Lacroix watch along with RM100,000 cash in an envelope to Lim’s office on the 28th floor of the Komtar building in George Town, Penang.
“I handed over the RM100,000 and watch in its black box, after which Lim returned the white envelope to me.
“Only the Maurice Lacroix watch was received by Lim. He appeared happy to receive the watch,” Zarul testified before the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
“After that, I left from his office. I didn’t see Lim wearing the watch I gave.
“I didn’t feel anything when Lim rejected the gift of RM100,000 cash,” he said.
Zarul said he bought the Swiss luxury brand timepiece from Rajan, a freelance seller who previously sold him other watches.
“Lim never asked for the watch for his birthday. I gave it to him.
“The reason I gave the watch was to ensure my project with the Penang government can be carried out smoothly,” he said in reference to the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.
Continuing from his testimony a day before, Zarul testified he gave Lim a total of RM3.3 million on several occasions from 2013 to 2017.
Previously, Zarul testified that he gave a total of RM200,000 — part of the 10 percent profit to be made by the company for the undersea tunnel project — on two separate occasions between August 2013 and January 2014.
Today, he told the court he gave Lim another RM100,000 in December 2014 as a birthday present, which fell on the 8th of the month.
On the fourth occasion, Zarul said he gave RM100,000 in December 2015 — also in conjunction with Lim’s birthday — but noted that the money was not accepted as mentioned earlier.
On the fifth occasion, Zarul said he gave Lim a total of RM500,000 before the Chinese New Year celebrations in 2016.
During the handover of the cash kept inside a haversack, Zarul said he did not disclose the amount to Lim, but told the latter, “This is for you, sir”.
“After I handed over the bag to YB Lim, he received the bag and placed it on the floor next to his feet. He (Lim) did not ask the contents within.
“I just told him what’s inside the bag was a gift for him,” Zarul said.
On the sixth occasion, Zarul said he gave another RM500,000 kept inside a haversack to Lim between April and May 2016.
All of the cash exchange from the first to sixth occasion took place at the Chief Minister’s Office in Komtar, George Town.
On the seventh and eight occasions, Zarul said he gave a total of RM2 million in August 2017.
Accordingly, the RM2 million were split into two sport bags each containing a million that were given to Lim in two separate meetings through an intermediary Zarul had made use of after the former advised to do so to avoid scrutiny by graft-busters.
The first exchange took place at Publika, Kuala Lumpur whereas the second exchange took place at Gardens Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister to receive RM3.3 million in bribes to help Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd to obtain the undersea tunnel project.
On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10 percent of the profits of the company from Zarul Ahmad as gratification for getting the project.
Lim, who is also Bagan MP, is also faced with two charges of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies, which are linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.
The trial before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi resumes June 27.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin led the prosecution, while Lim’s defence team was headed by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo.