GEORGE TOWN: The High Court today adjourned the graft hearing of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over the purchase of a RM2.8 million bungalow to July 30.
Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail approved the application made by Lim’s counsel Ramkarpal Singh, who told the court that the defence was seeking an adjournment as Lim would be sworn in as finance minister at Istana Negara and hence could not be present in court.
Ramkarpal said counsel Gobind Singh Deo would not be representing Lim either as he would also be sworn in as communications and multimedia minister today.
Ramkarpal said they would be filing a representation to the new attorney-general to review the case against both accused.
“The current anomaly with regards to the status of the attorney-general is that the tenure ends in July.
“We prefer that the new attorney-general consider our representation, and in light of that we ask for a short adjournment, a date after July,” he told the court.
Meanwhile, V Sithambaram, who is representing Phang, told the court they had submitted fresh documentary evidence to the prosecution.
He said he had been instructed by his client to make a comprehensive representation to the attorney-general for a review and withdrawal of charges.
“This is pertaining to the statements made by the government recently that cases which were politically motivated will be reviewed. We consider this case to be one of those (politically motivated cases).
“The case should be adjourned for the new attorney-general to study,” he added.
However, deputy public prosecutor Masri Mohd Daud told the court the prosecution had yet to receive any documents.
“As to the representation to review the case, I have no comments on that,” he said.
Neither Lim nor Gobind were present in court today.
Ramkarpal was assisted by RSN Rayer, while Sithambaram was assisted by Hisyam Teh and Rueban Kumar.
On June 30, 2016, Lim was charged with using his public office to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd (MESB) to convert agricultural land for residential purposes.
Lim was also alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from Phang for RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million, on Oct 21, 2015.
Phang was charged with abetment. Both Lim and Phang pleaded not guilty to the charges.