Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to amended graft charges

KUALA LUMPUR • Former Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng has pleaded not guilty to two amended charges of corruption involving the Penang undersea tunnel project. The graft trial is set to begin on June 8 next year.

Lim, 60, is charged with receiving RM3.3 million (S$1.1 million) as an inducement to help a company secure the project, valued at RM6.3 billion.

He is alleged to have received the bribe in his capacity as the then Chief Minister of Penang at his office in the Komtar building in George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.

A clause in the charge sheet, which states that he had a direct stake in the undersea tunnel project, was removed.

Lim is also charged with soliciting 10 per cent of the profit from the company's director, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, for helping it to secure the project.

The amendment added a timeframe to the accusation, stating that it occurred between 12.30am and 2am near The Gardens Hotel at Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, in Kuala Lumpur. No date was added, with the charge sheet stating only March 2011.

During case management yesterday, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the prosecution would be calling 80 to 90 witnesses for the trial.

Lim's lawyer Gobind Singh Deo applied to have the various charges heard together in one trial before the Kuala Lumpur court, as they originated in both Kuala Lumpur and George Town.

Meanwhile, Lim is also facing two counts of misappropriation of property for causing two plots of land belonging to the Penang government, worth RM208.8 million, to be disposed of by two companies linked to the undersea tunnel project.

Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi agreed to have the charges heard together and fixed 31 days for the trial to run from next June to December.

ASIA NEWS NETWORK/THE STAR

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2020, with the headline 'Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to amended graft charges'. Subscribe