Day #19 – Recall Witness #15: MACC officer Mohd Nazri Mansor

Late tycoon Ewe Swee Kheng’s damning statement against Lim Guan Eng read out in court, detailing how he had promised Lim cash reward and several units of residential property in the City of Dreams project in return for securing state land… and feared for his own safety.

SOURCE: The NST, by Sharanjit Singh – March 23, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) officer today read out a damning statement which was recorded from the late Penang-based property tycoon Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng, who revealed his dealings with then Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

In his final statement to the MACC before his death, Ewe – who was the founder and executive chairman of Ewein Bhd, detailed how he had promised Lim cash reward and several units of residential property in the City of Dreams project in return for securing state land.

Ewe claimed he had also heard at that time that Lim received money from contractors, and he wanted to expose all this to the graft busters as the truth needed to be told.

On his own dealings with Lim, Ewe revealed that the DAP politician had helped ensure speedy approval for everything connected to the land known as Plot 702 on the island.

The plot was given to Consortium Zenith BUCG (CZBUCG) as part of a land swap deal for the undersea tunnel project connecting Penang island and the mainland.

There were also some juicy bits about how the tycoon had entertained a CZBUCG representative at various karaoke joints on the island to ensure the company sold land swapped for the tunnel project to Ewein.

Lim, Ewe told the MACC, had assured him that if the land deal went through he would be able to control the money flow as CZBUCG – owned by businessman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkefli – was a company which had no power.

Ewe’s statement, which was the last one taken by the MACC, was recorded at the commission’s Penang headquarters on Aug 14 last year.

It was reported Ewe, who was supposed be the key prosecution witness in Lim’s trial, died two months later after falling from his condominium at Jalan Kelawei in Penang early morning of Oct 5.

MACC officer Mohd Nazri Mansor, who read out Ewe’s statement at the hearing of Lim’s graft trial today, said the tycoon had willingly spoken to the graft busters before his death after stating that he wished to finalise what he had told investigators.

Nazri said Ewe revealed that when the MACC started its investigations into the tunnel project, Pakatan Harapan was in power and Lim was seen as an untouchable.

Ewe said Lim had then escaped prosecution over the latter’s bungalow scandal, and he feared repercussions if anyone found out about what he had revealed to the MACC.

Nazri said Ewe had also informed the MACC that he feared for his safety after he had spoken to the graft busters.

“He said he would be extra cautious after talking to us,” Nazri said, adding Ewe however declined to be placed under the witness protection programme despite fearing for his safety.

Meanwhile, Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo later tore into the prosecution’s decision to have Nazri read out only a portion of Ewe’s statement without referring to what the late businessman had told MACC investigators prior to that.

He said Ewe’s earlier statements to the MACC had never implicated Lim to any graft related requests or promises.

“Evidence in support of the defence was never tendered even though it was one statement taken from the deceased in different parts,” he said.

Gobind also got Nazri to confirm that several Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPP) involved in Lim’s prosecution were present at the Penang MACC headquarters when Ewe recorded his final statement implicating the DAP politician.

The senior lawyer also made an issue of why Ewe’s statement was only taken five hours after the businessman had turned up at the MACC office on Aug 14.

Lim is on trial after being accused of using his position as then Penang chief minister to obtain a RM3.3 million bribe for helping Zarul’s company to secure the RM6.34 billion undersea tunnel project.

He is also accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10 per cent of the profits as gratification for helping Zarul’s company to secure the project.

Lim also faces two charges of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government to be disposed off to two companies, which are linked to the undersea tunnel project.

The trial before Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi continues.

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