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ZCSB director gave Guan Eng luxury watch, RM100,000 cash as birthday gifts, court hears

Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli says Lim Guan Eng accepted the watch and returned the envelope containing the money.

3 minute read
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng. Photo: Bernama
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng. Photo: Bernama

A Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (ZCSB) director told the Sessions Court today that he gave RM100,000 and a Maurice Lacroix watch worth RM43,000 to Lim Guan Eng as birthday gifts.

Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, 62, said sometime in 2015, he brought RM100,000 in cash in a white envelope and a black watch to Lim’s office on the 28th floor of Komtar, George Town, when the latter was the chief minister of Penang.

“Lim Guan Eng and I were alone in his room and after sitting and chatting for a while, Lim asked about the tunnel project. I told Lim that it was still in the feasibility study stage.

“Then I told Lim that I had brought a gift for him in conjunction with his birthday,” he said, reading from his witness statement during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh at the corruption trial of Lim, who faces four charges involving the construction of an undersea tunnel and main roads in Penang worth RM6.3 billion.

The 23rd prosecution witness said he then handed over RM100,000 and the watch that came in a black box to Lim, but that the latter returned the white envelope containing the money and only accepted the watch.

“Lim looked happy when he received the watch from me, and after that I left his office. I did not see Lim wearing the watch I gave him. I made nothing of it when Lim declined the RM100,000,” he said.

Zarul said Lim never asked for the watch in conjunction with his birthday, but that he had bought it of his own accord using a cheque from the UOB bank account of ZCSB, to ensure that the implementation of the tunnel project went smoothly with the Penang government.

Meanwhile, Zarul said sometime in December 2014, he gave RM100,000 in a white envelope to Lim in conjunction with his birthday at Lim’s office.

“I handed the white envelope to Lim and he received the white envelope containing RM100,000 from me after I handed it to him. Lim did not ask what the contents were, and he did not refuse.

“Lim looked happy after receiving the envelope and the RM100,000 was part of the 10% in kickbacks sought by him from my company’s profits,” he said.

According to the witness, he obtained the money from the sale of Lot No 702 to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd owned by Ewe Swee Kheng, whereby the land was received by ZCSB from the Penang state government as a form of payment after receiving approval for the feasibility study to build the three main roads.

“I kept part of the resources in cash to make contributions to Lim Guan Eng,” he said.

Lim faces an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister to receive RM3.3 million in bribes to assist Zarul’s company in obtaining the construction project valued at RM6,341,383,702, at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office on the 28th floor of Komtar, George Town, between January 2011 and August 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10% of the company profits from Zarul. The offence was allegedly committed near The Garden Hotels, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, in March 2011.

Lim also faces two charges of causing two lots of land worth RM208.8 million belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to the companies related to the undersea tunnel project.

He was charged with committing the offences at the Penang Land and Mines Office on the 21st floor of Komtar on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.

The trial before judge Azura Alwi continues on Monday.