KUALA LUMPUR: A witness in Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel corruption trial has dismissed the defence’s suggestion that he has been inconsistent in giving his evidence in the sessions court here and in another related case in Shah Alam.
Ibrahim Sahari, a former director of Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZB), told defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo that he should instead question Ibrahim’s then-colleague Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli to clear the air.
An argument between Gobind and Ibrahim then ensued, but the witness stood his ground.
In the Shah Alam sessions court, Ibrahim had said in his witness statement that Zarul, upon his release from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation in 2018, told him that businessman G Gnanaraja had cheated him of money.
In that trial, Gnanaraja was charged with three counts of cheating Zarul of RM19 million by deceiving Zarul into believing that Gnanaraja could help him close ongoing MACC investigations into money-laundering activities.
In this trial, Ibrahim said that Zarul told him upon his release from the MACC investigation that he had given money to Guan Eng, who was then Penang’s chief minister.
However, the 29th prosecution witness had said Zarul did not detail how much was given, nor where and when the alleged amount was handed over to Lim.
Gobind: “Is that your position? I put it to you that you are lying.”
Ibrahim: “I don’t agree. I am not lying.”
Gobind: “Did Zarul tell you that he was cheated by Gnanaraja of RM19 million?”
Gobind: “In this trial, you said Zarul told you that he paid money to the accused (Lim). So, Zarul and you have been inconsistent.”
Ibrahim: “I’m not lying, but you can question Zarul on this matter.”
Trial judge Azura Alwi then called for a short break to restore some calm to the situation.
“I will decide on his evidence,” she added.
Zarul, in his evidence earlier, had said that the term “chocolate”, seen in WhatsApp conversations between Zarul and Gnanaraja on Aug 17, 2017, referred to a sum of RM2 million that was meant for Lim.
Zarul, a director of CZB, is expected to be cross-examined by the defence in the next session. Gnanaraja will take the stand after that.
According to the prosecution, Gnanaraja had pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under the Companies Act and was fined RM230,000.
Re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat on the said inconsistencies, Ibrahim clarified that the matters here and in Shah Alam were different.
“Here it is a case of corruption, while in Shah Alam it was a case of cheating,” he added.
Lim is standing trial on the charge that he had used his position as then chief minister to ask Zarul for a 10% profit cut from the undersea tunnel project, and also for 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.
The hearing was adjourned to Oct 23.