Monday, May 16, 2022

Late developer said Guan Eng was ‘untouchable’ during PH rule, court told

Muhammad Nazree Mansor says Ewe Swee Kheng told him that he was giving an additional statement as he wanted to 'tell the truth'.

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Penang developer Ewe Swee Kheng who died last year said he had heard many stories of former chief minister Lim Guan Eng allegedly receiving money from contractor companies, describing him however as “untouchable” in an additional statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the anti-graft agency said in court today.

Ewe, who was a key prosecution witness in Lim’s ongoing graft trial on the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project, was believed to have fallen to his death at a condominium in Pulau Tikus last October.

Reading Ewe’s testimony at the trial today, MACC recording officer Muhammad Nazree Mansor said the developer had given an additional statement after his initial three in July 2020 as he wanted to “tell the truth”.

He also said Ewe had told him that Lim was “untouchable” under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, according to The Malay Mail.

“If any parties were to find out the revelation I am making here, I am worried it will create a negative implication for me,” Ewe was quoted as saying.

“Moreover, I have been informed that YB Lim was accepting monies from contractor companies and I felt that I needed to expose the truth because there is too much secrecy I have withheld which I think will affect my business if it were to be uncovered.”

According to the report, Ewe also said that he was “a bit worried” about his safety after having given his statement, but that he would “take precautions”.

The statement, recorded in August last year, was declared admissible as evidence in December by Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi who dismissed the claim by the defence that it had been fabricated.

Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said during cross-examination that Ewe’s first three statements in July 2020 had purportedly exonerated the former chief minister.

He also questioned the developer’s claim that Lim was “untouchable”, saying the first statement was taken five months after the collapse of the PH government, when Lim was back in the opposition.

In the trial which is ongoing at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, Lim faces four charges of soliciting bribes and abuse of power in relation to the construction of an undersea tunnel and paired roads worth RM6.3 billion.

Once complete, the 7.2km tunnel would be the first undersea road link in the country, connecting Butterworth in the mainland to George Town on the island. The construction is a joint undertaking between the state government and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

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