I did not know Lim met Zarul to discuss tunnel project: Former exco

I did not know Lim met Zarul to discuss tunnel project: Former exco

KUALA LUMPUR: A former Penang executive councillor told the Sessions Court here today that he did not know that Lim Guan Eng(pix) had met an individual named Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to discuss the state’s major road and undersea tunnel construction projects.

Datuk Lim Hock Seng, 73, made the statement when answering an additional question posed by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin as to whether the witness knew that Lim held a meeting with an individual named Zarul at a hotel in the capital ahead of the Penang state executive council meeting in January 2011.

Hock Seng said that during the executive council meeting on Jan 26, 2011, the former Penang chief minister only mentioned that there was a private company interested in the state’s tunnel project.

“At the meeting, he (Lim) did not state that he had met or discussed with anyone… just that there was a company interested in the tunnel construction project in Penang,” he said when testifying on the fifth day of Lim’s corruption case. Lim is facing four charges relating to the undersea tunnel and major road construction projects in the state.

When asked by Wan Shaharuddin whether Zarul was the same individual whose phone number Hock Seng had obtained from Lim, and he (Zarul) was involved in the meeting to discuss and obtain a contract (regarding the major road and undersea tunnel construction), the witness replied: “It is the same.”

The witness also admitted that Zarul had accompanied them on their visit to China.

Hock Seng had earlier informed the court that Lim provided the phone numbers of two representatives of the construction company, namely Zarul and Datuk Lee Chee Hoe, to discuss the construction projects on Jan 26, 2011.

The witness also agreed with the prosecution that he would not have known Zarul and Lee if Lim had not forwarded their numbers to him.

Meanwhile, Hock Seng agreed with lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Lim, that it was normal to share phone numbers.

Gobind: “If Zarul and Lee’s numbers were not given to you (Hock Seng), the project could not have been discussed,” to which the witness replied: “True.”

According to the first amended charge, Lim is charged with using his position as then Penang Chief Minister to obtain a bribe of RM3.3 million for helping a company owned by Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli to be secure the construction projects worth RM6,341,383,702.

The offence was allegedly committed between January 2011 and August 2017 at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.

On the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10% of the profits from Zarul to be earned by the company as gratification for helping his (Zarul) company to secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here, between 12.30 am and 2 am in March 2011.

The Bagan member of parliament also faces two charges with causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies, which are linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Level 21, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015 and March 22, 2017.

The trial before Judge Azura Alwi continues on Wednesday.-Bernama