KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — The Sessions Court today ordered the prosecution to furnish to the defence redacted documents of a key witness interrogation statement for impeachment proceedings to commence in former chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s ongoing corruption trial.
In delivering her verdict, Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi ordered the prosecution to hand over the redacted documents — totalling 31 pages — to the defence within two weeks from today’s ruling.
The redacted documents involved a statement by key prosecution witness and Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in the course of their investigations.
“The court has gone through the entirety of the statement made by the 23rd prosecution witness (Zarul Ahmad) under the MACC Act, and is therefore satisfied that only certain parts of the statement that are relevant to the case are provided to the defence for the purpose of commencing impeachment proceedings,” she said.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin appeared for the prosecution while defence lawyers RSN Rayer and Haijan Omar appeared for Lim.
The court also allowed for the remaining hearing dates this month to be vacated following a request by the defence after former lead defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo was appointed a Cabinet member last December.
In the impeachment application, the defence had sought to challenge Zarul Ahmad’s credibility after the latter had made contradictory testimonies in a separate court case involving businessman G. Gnanaraja in Shah Alam, Selangor.
According to the defence, the disputed testimony involved Zarul Ahmad telling the court in the present trial he had paid out RM2 million each to Lim by cheque and then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in cash in 2017; while Zarul Ahmad had told investigators in the Shah Alam case that he only made one payment in a cheque to Gnanaraja for Najib.
In the present trial, Zarul Ahmad had said he had “rectified” his statement over the cash and cheque.
Nonetheless, the defence subsequently filed an application to obtain Zarul Ahmad’s testimony in that court case to initiate impeachment proceedings.
The next hearing date has been fixed for February 26.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as the then Penang chief minister to accept a bribe of RM3.3 million to help a company owned by Zarul Ahmad obtain a construction project worth RM6,341,383,702 billion.
On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe from Zarul Ahmad, namely 10 per cent of CZCSB’s profits, as an inducement to obtain the project.
Lim is also facing two charges of disposing of two plots of land worth RM208.8 million owned by the Penang government to companies allegedly linked to the planned undersea tunnel project.