Day #15: Guan Eng no show at his corruption trial after being admitted to IJN

Guan Eng no show at his corruption trial after being admitted to IJN.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was a no show at his corruption trial involving the Penang undersea tunnel project today as he has been admitted at the National Heart Institute (IJN) to undergo some medical procedures.

His lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo informed this to Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi immediately after the hearing was called into session about 9.30am.

The lawyer said his client was admitted to the hospital Sunday, before going on to apologise for the Bagan Member of Parliament’s absence in court.

“It is something beyond us and I apologise,” he said, adding his client had been given a three day MC by IJN doctors.

However, he said the defence was ready to proceed with today’s hearing despite Lim’s absence.

“There are three formal witnesses which the prosecution intends to call and we are okay with that,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharudin Wan Ladin later said while the prosecution symphatised with Lim’s condition, it was disappointed that the accused had chosen to get himself admitted one day before the trial was scheduled to resume.

“We are disappointed because he saw the doctor on Dec 7 and chose to get admitted on the 12th, one day before this hearing was scheduled to resume.

“He knew the trial had been fixed from Dec 13 to 17 but yet he chose to be admitted on the 12th.

“We don’t want to turn this into a big issue but he has to be more responsible when fixing the dates for his checkup and all that,” he said, adding prior to this the case had also been vacated as Lim had to be quarantined after coming into close contact with a Covid-19 positive person.

Azura later said while the court understood that health issues could be unpredictable, the accused should avoid setting medical appointment dates when hearings for the trial were set.

She later ordered for the hearing to continue with the three formal witnesses scheduled to testify to proceed with their testimony.

This is the second time Lim has been a no show for his trial. The first was in September when the hearing was postponed after Lim could not attend proceedings due to close contact with a Covid-19 positive person.

Lim is charged with soliciting a bribe from the company awarded a contract to undertake the controversial RM6.34 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.

The 60-year old politician is alleged to have asked for 10 per cent of the potential profits from Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and in return, would help Zarul’s company, Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd appointed to carry out the project.

Lim – who is former Penang chief minister, is also accused of abusing his power to obtain a RM3.3 million bribe as an inducement to appoint Zarul’s company to implement the project.

He also faces two additional charges of misappropriation of property by disposing two plots of land belonging to the Penang government in Bandar Tanjong Pinang worth RM208 million to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd.

Both companies are linked to the tunnel project.

SOURCE: The NST – By Sharanjit Singh – December 14, 2021

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