Fake invoices, payment vouchers used to cover money trail, says witness in Guan Eng trial.
KUALA LUMPUR – June 27: A former top officer of the company awarded the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project today revealed how bribe money given to Lim Guan Eng on numerous occasions was covered up using fake invoices and payment vouchers to hide the money trail.
Azli Adam, the former senior vice-president at Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) in charge of the company accounts, detailed how this started happening on the instructions of company owner Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.
The 58-year-old outlined the chronology of events and modus operandi adopted by the company in the preparation of invoices and payment vouchers for the bribe money that was given to Lim, the former Penang chief minister.
He said there were several payments made by companies under Zarul, namely Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd and CZBUCG, between 2012 and 2017.
Azli said money was withdrawn from these companies and he was then instructed by Zarul to prepare dummy invoices and payment vouchers to dormant companies which he named as Sinar Bina Consultancy Services (SBCS), Bintang Ria Engineering (BRE), JKM Konsortium Sdn Bhd (JKMKSB) and Jurutera Konsult Maju Sdn Bhd (JKMSB).
However, he said Zarul had informed him that the cash was actually given to Lim as a bribe and also to pay for his boss’s personal debt.
He said the main source of revenue for companies under Zarul at that time was payments he received from the land swap deal with the Penang government for Lots 702 and 713 in return for the tunnel project.
“Zarul told me and Ibrahim Sahari (another company director) the truth after he was detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in January 2018.
“He confessed that he had actually used the money as payment of a bribe to (Lim),” he said, before going on to confirm that all the entries and payments to SBCS and BRE concerning the so-called feasibility study and detailed design on proposed road and tunnel project were false.
He said both companies actually never had anything to do with the tunnel project.
“We obtained the dummy invoices from these companies by buying them off from a middleman. We paid between RM10,000 and RM15,000 to get hold of the invoices,” he said, adding that Zarul dealt with the other two companies himself to obtain their invoices.
Azli later confirmed the fake payment vouchers which had been issued to the companies between 2012 and 2017 for their so-called consultancy fees.
He reiterated that Zarul had told him the money was actually given to Lim as bribe payments.
“I am not sure of the exact dates the money was handed to him. As far as I remember Zarul said he made cash payments to Guan Eng. “
Azli’s testimony comes in the wake of Zarul’s evidence prior to this that he had personally handed bribes to Lim after his company was awarded the tunnel project. Lim’s lawyers are expected to cross-examine Zarul after this.
The cross-examination was supposed to start today but had to be deferred to another date as Zarul was unwell and could not attend court.
Lim is facing four charges of using his position as the then chief minister to solicit gratification to help Zarul’s company secure the tunnel project.
He is alleged to have sought 10 per cent of the profit to be made by the company from Zarul.
He is also accused of receiving RM3.3 million for himself and causing two plots of land belonging to the state government to be disposed of to two companies linked to the tunnel project.
The trial before Sessions judge Azura Alwi continues.