June 15, 2024

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Lim Guan Eng admitted to IJN, trial proceeds today

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — The Sessions Court here today proceeded with the corruption trial involving former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in connection with the  Penang undersea tunnel project, although the accused was not in court.

Lim’s counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, informed the court that his client could not appear in court today as he had been admitted to the National Heart Institute (IJN) since Sunday.

“The accused is currently at IJN for a medical procedure which was conducted yesterday and he has been given a sick leave certificate from Sunday until tomorrow, but we have three formal witnesses today, and I request for the hearing to proceed without his presence,” said the lawyer.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin requested the court to record the prosecution’s regret on the presence of the witnesses, who are from Penang.

IJN

“What is regrettable is that the accused chose to be admitted to IJN on Dec 12 when knowing that (the trial of) his case is on Dec 13.”

“I hope this will not happen again, I do not want to make it a big issue and request the accused to be more responsible,” he said.

Hearing of the case was fixed for yesterday, but was postponed to today.

Judge Azura Alwi allowed for the trial to continue today and tomorrow without Lim’s presence by applying Section 264 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

At today’s proceedings, three prosecution witnesses were called to testify.

Two of them are  Datuk Ng Wee Kok and S. Vijayalakchimi, who are Lim’s former senior private secretaries, and former Penang State Executive Council secretary M. Maheswari, who are the 17th to 19th prosecution witnesses.

In their respective testimony, all of them confirmed several minutes of the meeting on the undersea tunnel project.

Lim 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 to secure the construction project worth RM6,341,383,702.

The offense 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 (Zarul) company to secure the project.

The offense was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here, between 12.30 am and 2 am in March 2011.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, also faces two charges 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 offense was allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

NMT as reported by Bernama