KUALA LUMPUR: A prosecution witness today told Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel corruption trial that the project contractor was compelled to take action after realising the company had been cheated by businessman G Gnanaraja.
Ibrahim Sahari, a former director of Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd, said his then colleague Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli had informed the board of directors that the company had been cheated by Gnanaraja.
Gnanaraja was subsequently charged at the Shah Alam sessions court in 2019 for cheating Zarul. He later pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under the Companies Act.
Asked by defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo whether Ibrahim knew Zarul was being “pressured” by Gnanaraja to hand over the RM19 million sum purportedly to close money laundering’s investigations into the company, the witness answered in the affirmative.
“Zarul told me about it,” Ibrahim said.
“Our lawyers also issued a notice of demand to Gnanaraja, asking him to return the RM19 million.”
The witness also said it was “impossible” that any part of the RM19 million was given by Gnanaraja to anyone else.
Asked if he knew whether Gnanaraja had handed over RM2 million from the RM19 million to Lim, Ibrahim responded: “I cannot comment.”
He said he had previously been called as a witness in a cheating case brought against Gnanaraja in the Shah Alam sessions court.
Ibrahim said he told Gnanaraja’s trial that Zarul had paid Gnanaraja the RM19 million sum to “strengthen the relationship” between Zarul and former prime minister Najib Razak.
The hearing continues on Aug 7 before judge Azura Alwi.
Lim is standing trial on charges of using his position as then Penang chief minister 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 from two companies.
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