Stop asking the same questions, judge tells Guan Eng's counsel

KUALA LUMPUR: The lead counsel in the corruption trial involving Lim Guan Eng has been told to stop asking a key prosecution witness the same questions which are prolonging impeachment proceedings at the Sessions Court.

Judge Azura Alwi said Haijan Omar was using different words but asking the same questions.

“We still have a few more parts to go. If we go on at this pace, I don’t know when we will finish.

“We keep coming back to the same questions with different words, while the facts are already there,” she said here on Tuesday (April 2).

“I was okay from the beginning with all the facts but I lost my concentration and flow of facts later,” she said.

The impeachment proceedings is to examine the witness statement and testimonies made by Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli made in the current proceedings and a previous Shah Alam case involving businessman G. Gnanaraja.

The point of contention on Tuesday was over the origin of RM2mil given to Gnanaraja in 2017 that was allegedly meant for former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Haijan pointed out that there were material contradictions as Zarul Ahmad had earlier told the MACC that he borrowed RM2.3mil from Datuk Ng Hooi Aun, one of his business partners, to pay Gnanaraja.

However, in court, Zarul Ahmad said the money were proceeds from the sale of a plot of land meant for a project by his company CZCSB to Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd.

Haijan: Do you agree that in your testimony, you never mentioned that the RM2.3mil was borrowed from Datuk Ng.

Zarul Ahmad: Yes (I agree). I didn’t.

Haijan: You didn’t mention it but the account statement of Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd (Ng’s company) showed it deposited the money to your company.

Zarul Ahmad: I don’t remember.

Another counsel for Lim, RSN Rayer, then asked if Zarul Ahmad had lied to the MACC about the money in 2018 in his statement which claimed that the businessman had not disclosed the truth.

“Lying is a heavy word. I don’t agree with you,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat then said questions about Zarul’s statement to MACC had already been raised.

Azura told Rayer to move on to another issue, saying there was “no point” quarrelling with Zarul Ahmad over his statement.

When questioned by Rayer, Zarul Ahmad agreed that he did not mention Lim’s name in his statement to the MACC about the RM2mil.

Rayer: At the end of the statement, all the payments to Gnanaraja totalling RM19mil, all were for “PM”. “PM” means Najib?

Zarul Ahmad: Yes.

Rayer: They were not meant for Lim Guan Eng? You didn’t mention here.

Zarul Ahmad: No, I didn’t.

Rayer: Because it was meant for Najib, given to Gnanaraja.

Zarul Ahmad: Yes.

When asked, Zarul Ahmad also confirmed that although he had given money to Najib, he had never met the “PM” then.

When questioned by co-counsel Tiara Katrina Fuad, Zarul Ahmad also agreed that in a meeting with Ng, he did not mention Lim’s name as the person the RM2.3mil was intended for.

He agreed that he told Ng that the money was meant to be given to Gnanaraja.

The hearing continues on Thursday (Apr 4).

Lim, 63, is facing an amended charge of using his position as then-Penang chief minister to solicit RM3.3mil in bribes as an inducement to assist Zarul Ahmad to secure an undersea tunnel project worth RM6,341,383,702.

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

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

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here, in March 2011.

Lim, who is DAP chairman and Bagan MP, faces two further charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8mil, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed off to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.