Businessman reveals how Guan Eng asked for 10pct of profit as bribe

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KUALA LUMPUR: A key witness in the undersea tunnel corruption trial involving Lim Guan Eng told the Sessions Court today that the former Penang chief minister had asked him for a 10 per cent cut from the profit of the project as a bribe.

Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who is the director of Consortium Zenith Beijing Urban Construction Group (CZBUGC) – the company awarded with the project, said he was shocked when Lim made the request.

The request, he said, was made some time in March 2011.

“I was in disbelief that the request came out from his mouth, a person whom I always thought was against corruption.

“From what I understood, the 10 per cent is meant as a bribe, that I should give him 10 per cent from the profit my company would make when it was awarded the project.

“Lim was then seen smiling when I told him that I agreed to give him the 10 per cent from the profit made in the project and he said his officers and himself would assist me in providing all the information needed for the project,” he said.

The 23rd prosecution witness said he was initially promised by Lim that the project would be awarded via direct negotiation but in May, the same year, he was told that the project would be called for an open tender instead.

Zarul said at that time, he was disappointed that Lim had made a ‘U-turn’.

He said however, Lim had promised to help him win the project tender.

“Lim had instructed his officers to give their full cooperation to me in this matter and asked for the request for proposal (RFP) to be expedited,” he said.

Lim is facing four charges of using his position as the then chief minister to solicit gratification to help Consortium Zenith Construction to secure the tunnel project.

He is alleged to have sought 10 per cent of the profit to be made by the company from its owner, Zarul.

He is also accused of receiving RM3.3 million for himself and causing two plots of land belonging to the state government to be disposed to two companies linked to the tunnel project.

Earlier, when Zarul took the stand, Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo told the court that the defence wanted to get hold of a copy of the document on the businessman’s statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) during the the investigations into the case.

“The witness mentioned clearly that he was arrested and remanded by the MACC in regards with the tunnel project and we want to make an application for the documents in relation to that,” he said.

He said he wanted to cross-examine the witness on the statement to the MACC, which the defence claims contradicts the witness statement read by the witness in court today.

However, this was objected by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin.

Wan Shahruddin said Zarul should be allowed to finish reading his testimony first, and the defence can make the application before their cross-examination begins.

Judge Azura Alwi then said she would hear the defence’s bid for the prosecution to furnish them with the documents before the cross-examination starts.

The trial will continue on March 23.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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