Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Huge mistake in preliminary agreement for Penang undersea tunnel project, court told

Former state legal adviser Faiza Zulkifli says the mistake involved the parcels of land, which were the main items stated in the document.

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The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur was today told that there was a huge mistake in the contents of the preliminary agreement for the privatisation of the major roads and undersea tunnel project in Penang.

Former state legal adviser Faiza Zulkifli said the mistake involved the parcels of land, which were the main items stated in the document.

“I can say that this was a huge mistake as there were also small mistakes in the form of typos and statements on the parcels of land,” she said, referring to the preliminary agreement for the privatisation of the major roads and undersea tunnel project between the state government and Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group Sdn Bhd dated Oct 29, 2013.

In reply to deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, the witness said the huge mistake was when the agreement incorrectly identified the parcels of state government-owned land to be transferred to the developers.

The prosecution’s 11th witness was testifying in former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s corruption trial. Lim is facing four charges relating to the undersea tunnel and major roads construction project in the state worth RM6.3 billion.

“I’m very thorough in my work, and the Penang state government officers know it, and I would have ensured that no such thing would occur so as to protect the state government’s interests,” she said.

However, Faiza said it was inappropriate for her to make comments on the contents of the agreement as she was not involved in checking and evaluating the document.

“There was no instruction from any quarters, be it from the former chief minister or the State Secretary’s Office for the document to be sent for review by the state legal adviser,” she said.

Meanwhile, when reading her witness statement, Faiza said she did not check the draft of the agreement in question as the chief minister (Lim) had opted to appoint a private legal firm to evaluate the preliminary agreement.

“I accepted the chief minister’s decision to appoint the private legal firm to evaluate the agreement, but the chief minister should have also entrusted the legal firm with the responsibility to protect the state government’s interests.

“I only knew that the document was prepared by legal firm, Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill,” she said.

In today’s proceedings, the prosecution also submitted the death certificate of Ewein Zanith Sdn Bhd managing director Ewe Swee Kheng who fell from a high-end condominium at Jalan Kelawai, Penang on Oct 5. The prosecution was supposed to call the 53-year-old developer as their 15th witness.

According to the first amended charge, Lim, 60, is charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to obtain a bribe of RM3.3 million for helping a company owned by Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to secure the construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.

The offence was allegedly committed between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.

On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10% of the profits from Zarul to be earned by the company as gratification for helping his company 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, also faces 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 offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.

The trial before judge Azura Alwi continues on Nov 29.

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