Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Appeals court reserves judgment on Guan Eng’s bid to transfer graft case to High Court

A three-man bench says more time is needed to decide on the matter.

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The Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment on Lim Guan Eng’s appeal to transfer his corruption case involving the construction of the undersea tunnel and paired roads project in Penang from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Court of Appeal judge Nor Bee Ariffin, who led a three-member bench, made the ruling after hearing submissions from the former Penang chief minister’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo and deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.

“We need time to decide on the matter. The trial at the Sessions Court fixed for next Monday will proceed. Our decision will come after that,” said Nor Bee.

The other two judges on the bench were Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali and Hashim Hamzah. Lim attended today’s proceeding.

On July 8 this year, Lim filed an application to have his case transferred to the High Court on the basis that the case, among others, involved Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 relating to the filing of the defendant’s statement, a key issue in ensuring a fair trial, and that it could be appealed until the Federal Court.

For cases heard at the Sessions Court, appeals end at the Court of Appeal.

On July 12 this year, High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin dismissed the Bagan MP’s application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Lim is facing four charges involving the construction of the undersea tunnel and paired roads in Penang worth RM6.3 billion.

According to the first amended charge, Lim is accused of using his position as Penang chief minister to obtain a bribe of RM3.3 million as an inducement to help Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli secure the construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.

Lim allegedly committed the offence at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, Level 28, Komtar, George Town, between January 2011 and August 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10% of the profit from the company as gratification to secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, faces another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.

The two offences were allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Level 21, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.

As of today, a total of eight prosecution witnesses had testified in the case which started on July 13 this year. The trial is scheduled to continue on Nov 1 before judge Azura Alwi.

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