Day #17: Judge rules late tycoon’s statement to MACC on Penang Undersea Tunnel admissible

A statement recorded by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) from a prominent developer in Penang on the undersea tunnel project before he fell to his death has been deemed as admissible to be used as evidence in Lim Guan Eng‘s corruption trial.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi ruled that the statement had been recorded in accordance with the law and she would allow it to be marked as a prosecution exhibit.

She also dismissed the defence’s arguments on alleged discrepancies in the document, noting that all this had been explained by the MACC officer who recorded the statement from the late Penang-based property tycoon Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng.

“Any dispute on the contents of the statement, including on the handwriting and signatures, has been satisfactorily explained by the MACC witness,” she said.

Following the ruling, Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo said he would need to continue with his cross examination of the MACC officer who had recorded the statement.

The MACC officer will be called for this at a later date as he was not present in court today.

The prosecution had last month sought to introduce Ewe’s witness statement in their case against Lim, who is former Penang chief minister.

However, Lim’s lawyers had alleged that Ewe’s final recorded statement was fabricated by the MACC and should therefore not be admissible as evidence in the trial.

The defence argued that some of the seven-page statement was handwritten while there were some portions which were computer-generated, besides questioning the veracity of the deceased’s signature on the statement.

It was previously revealed that MACC officers had recorded four statements from Ewe between July 3, 2020 and Aug 14, 2021.

Ewe, who was the founder of Ewein Bhd, was supposed to testify in the trial but he died in the early hours of Oct 5 after falling from the Palazzo condominium in Jalan Kelawai, Georgetown.

Earlier in the trial, it was 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, 60, has claimed trial to two counts of dishonestly misappropriating state property, namely by releasing two plots of 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 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, reportedly worth RM6.341 billion, to obtain a RM3.3 million bribe.

The trial continues.

SOURCE: The NST – By Sharanjit Singh – December 16, 2021

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