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'RM2 million chocolate' in the spotlight in Guan Eng graft trial

Questions are asked on who 'big boss' refers to, and to whom the RM2 million was paid.

2 minute read
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Kuala Lumpur court complex, Jan 18. Photo: Bernama
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Kuala Lumpur court complex, Jan 18. Photo: Bernama

The issue of "RM2 million chocolate for big boss" and "prime minister" has dominated the corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng on the construction of an undersea tunnel and a major road construction project in the state.

The matter was brought up again yesterday when prosecution witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Forensics Department investigating officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof, was being cross-examined by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, representing Lim. 

Wan Mohd Firdaus said it was mentioned in a WhatsApp chat between Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and businessman G Gnanaraja on Aug 17, 2017 that the "chocolate" was for the "big boss".
Gobind: Did "big boss" refer to the prime minister at that time? 

Wan Mohd Firdaus: No. 

The prime minister then was Najib Razak.

Wan Mohd Firdaus then agreed with Gobind that in a July 23, 2017 WhatsApp conversation involving the same individuals, a birthday cake-cutting ceremony for an individual known as "big boss" at a residence in Taman Duta was also mentioned. 

Gobind said it was clear that "big boss" did not refer to Lim, as his client did not reside in Taman Duta nor was his birthday on July 23. 

Meanwhile, Wan Mohd Firdaus agreed with deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin that the WhatsApp conversation did not mention that RM2 million was never paid to Lim.

Wan Shaharuddin: In the forensic chat transcript report, was it stated that RM2 million was paid to anyone else?
Wan Mohd Firdaus: No.

Wan Shaharuddin: Was the word CM (chief minister) Lim Guan Eng not stated at all in the chat transcript report?

Wan Mohd Firdaus: The conversation involving Gnanaraja dated Aug 17, 2017 at 6.14pm mentioned "Penang CM", while the one from Zarul at 5.15pm read: "stay in Penang Sir, CM postpone my meeting with him, 7 petang (7pm)".

Gobind said as the prosecution was relying on the WhatsApp conversation for its case, the defence had applied for the full disclosure of its transcript report as evidence received by the defence indicated that Gnanaraja had received RM2 million from Zarul.

Judge Azura Alwi then ordered the defence to file the application before Feb 15. Hearing was fixed for March 15.
Lim, 61, faces an amended charge of using his position as the chief minister of Penang to accept a bribe of RM3.3 million in helping a company owned by Zarul to obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702 at the Office of the Chief Minister of Penang, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town. between January 2011 and August 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe from Zarul, namely 10% of the company’s profits, as an inducement for obtaining the project. He is accused of committing the act near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City in March 2011.

Lim also faces two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million owned by the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies allegedly linked to the undersea tunnel project.