Day#14: Witness #16 – Former tailor Foo Jee Hai

Late tycoon’s witness statement disputed by Lim’s lawyer.

SOURCE: The NST – By Sharanjit Singh – November 30, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng‘s corruption trial today saw his lawyer accusing the prosecution of trying to use a fabricated statement of a deceased witness as evidence.

Later, a former tailor who now runs a company which is also involved in money lending services, revealed how he had actually set up a meeting between three main players involved in the RM6.34 billion Penang undersea project.

Today’s proceedings started with both sides submitting on the admissibility of a statement which was recorded by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators from the late property tycoon Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng.

Ewe, who was the founder and executive chairman of Ewein Bhd, fell to his death from the penthouse suite of the Palazzo Condominium at Jalan Kelawei in Penang early in the morning of Oct 5.

His death came in the wake of his scheduled appearance in court as one of the key witness in Lim’s trial.

Another witness from the MACC yesterday testified that graft busters had recorded statements from Ewe four times prior to his death.

The prosecution is now trying to tender Ewe’s statement as evidence but Lim’s lawyers are objecting to it.

Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo today argued that the MACC officers had failed to record Ewe’s statement on Aug 14 this year in accordance to Section 30 (8) of the MACC Act

He said the recording officer had failed to record the statement properly, in compliance with the Act, and the defence wanted to question the authenticity of the statement.

“Something is not right with the statement and the only reasonable explanation is that it is a fabrication,” he said.

However, this was rebutted by the prosecutors who argued that the MACC had followed procedures in recording Ewe’s statement.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Francine Cheryl Rajendram submitted that Ewe’s statement had been recorded in compliance with the MACC Act and should be allowed while DPP Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin argued that Ewe had not been coerced to give the statement.

He added that the defence had also failed to challenge the prosecution’s contention that the statement was authentic and admissible as evidence.

Judge Azura Alwi later fixed Dec 13 to decide whether the statement should be admitted as evidence.

It was previously revealed that one of Ewe’s firms, Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, had received state land in 2014 in relation to the undersea tunnel project in Penang.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary general, has claimed trial to two counts of dishonest misappropriation by releasing two plots of state land to Ewein Zenith and Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd.

He is charged with causing the state land registrar to dispose of one of the plots, located in Bandar Tanjong Pinang and said to be worth RM135.086 million, to Ewein Zenith at the Department of Lands and Mines in Komtar on Feb 17, 2015.

He is also charged with causing the state land registrar to dispose of the other plot, also located in Bandar Tanjung Pinang and worth RM73.668 million, to Zenith Urban at the department on March 22, 2017.

Lim, 60, is also accused of soliciting a 10 per cent cut in profits from the undersea tunnel project from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2011.

The Bagan member of parliament is also charged with abusing his position as a public officer to assist Zarul’s company to be appointed to undertake the construction of main roads and the undersea tunnel, to obtain a RM3.3 million bribe.

Meanwhile, another witness, former tailor Foo Jee Hai testified that he was the one who had introduced Zarul and BUCG project manager Lee Chee Hoe to Ewe after the duo said they needed investors for an infrastructure project in Penang.

Foo, who started his career as a tailor at the Jefferson Fashion Design in Komtar before going on to supply school uniforms, said he had known Ewe for more than 10 years while he only got to know Zarul and Lee after meeting them in Parliament where he used to meet former Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

Foo said Ewe had met Zarul and Lee at a hotel lobby in Penang, in 2011.

He said the trio met several times after that but he did not know what was discussed.

The trial continues on Dec 13.

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