KUALA LUMPUR: The star witness in Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel corruption trial told the sessions court he was shocked when the former Penang chief minister asked him for a 10% cut in the future project.
Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli said Lim’s purported request was made some time in March 2011 when he was driving him back to his hotel after they had dinner.
“I was shocked because I could not imagine this would come from YB (Lim), a person that I viewed as someone who is against corruption,” he said, adding that he understood the 10% request was meant as a bribe.
Lim is standing trial on charges of using his position to ask Zarul for a 10% cut of the profits from the undersea tunnel project, and accepting RM3.3 million in kickbacks from the businessman.
He is also accused of two counts of dishonestly misappropriating RM208.7 million worth of state land to two companies.
Zarul told the court he was introduced to Lim by former minister Nazri Aziz at a hotel lounge here in January 2011.
“I took the opportunity to tell YB (Lim) that BUCG was keen to undertake any available project in Penang.
“He looked interested in what I had told him. From there, we exchanged numbers,” he said, pointing out the meeting had not been planned.
He said that several weeks after the meeting, he contacted Lim, who invited him and BUCG representatives to his office at Komtar to give a briefing.
“He told me a person by the name of Lim Hock Seng (former Penang exco member) will be contacting me from time to time, to provide me with details of the proposed tunnel and roads project,” he said.
Earlier, when Zarul took the witness stand, Lim’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, told the court the defence wanted the prosecution to furnish it with a copy of the businessman’s statement recorded during the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation.
Gobind said that in Zarul’s witness statement tendered in court today, he mentioned that he was remanded by MACC in 2018.
“We want to cross-examine him on his MACC statement, which we say contradicts his 2018 statement,” he said.
The defence had made the same request to obtain Zarul’s statement in August.
However, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the court should allow Zarul to finish reading his testimony first.
“They can make this application before cross-examination,” he said.
Judge Azura said she would hear the defence’s application before Gobind began with his cross-examination.
The hearing will resume on March 24 after Zarul told the court he was suffering from stomach ache.