Lim Guan Eng trial: In feud for forensic report, defence claims three prosecution witnesses fabricated testimonies

Lim Guan Eng (Zahid Izzani/The Edge)

Lim Guan Eng (Zahid Izzani/The Edge)

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Gobind claimed that Whatsapp messages on Aug 17, 2017, which were not provided to the defence but are contained in the report, will show that Zarul's testimony that the “Chocolate” or RM2 million in cash bribes given to Lim was made up.

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 17): Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel graft trial on Tuesday got heated after defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo became visibly incensed while attempting to obtain a forensic reportfrom the prosecution, and claimed that three of their witnesses had faked their testimonies.

Gobind told the Sessions Court here that prosecution witnesses, comprising Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, former senior vice-president of finance and corporate services Azli Adam, and former senior executive Ibrahim Sahari, had fabricated their testimonies in regard to cash bribes given to Lim. 

He indicated this while he cross-examined the eighth prosecution witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) forensic officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof.

The defence lawyer claimed that the forensic report contains a “complete” transcript of WhatsApp messages between Zarul and businessman G Gnanaraja ― two individuals who had allegedly collaborated delivering RM2 million cash bribes to Lim, according to Zarul.

Gobind claimed that Whatsapp messages on Aug 17, 2017, which were not provided to the defence but are contained in the report, will show that Zarul's testimony that the “Chocolate” or RM2 million in cash bribes given to Lim was made up. 

“The witness (Zarul), who said in this court that the ‘Chocolate’ meant the RM2 million cash for Guan Eng, gave a false testimony,” Gobind said before asking the prosecution to produce the forensic report.

However, deputy public prosecution (DPP) Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin objected to Gobind’s request and asked the defence how the report relates to the trial.

In response, Gobind alleged that Azli and Ibrahim had also lied in their testimonies, and asked the judge for permission to play two videos in court ― purportedly of the pair’s testimony in Gnanaraja’s trial in the Shah Alam Sessions Court. 

Gobind claimed that the pair had testified in Shah Alam that the money was for “someone else”, which purportedly contradicted their testimony in the undersea tunnel graft trial in which they said that Zarul had told them that the money was for Lim.

The prosecution also objected to this, questioning the relevance of videos of Azli and Ibrahim’s past testimony in Shah Alam with that of Firdaus', current witness on the stand. Judge Azura concurred and did not allow the defence to play the videos in court. 

However, Azura did relent and ordered Firdaus to bring a copy of the forensic report for him to refer to while he is cross-examined by the defence. The trial is set to continue on Wednesday with the continued cross-examination of Firdaus.

Previously, Zarul had testified that with Gnanaraja’s help, he delivered RM2 million in cash to Lim. Zarul also testified that the pair used terms such as “Chocolate” and “Bigboss” to refer to the sum and Lim respectively when they communicated via WhatsApp. 

Meanwhile, Azli and Ibrahim had testified that they aided in facilitating the withdrawal of CZBUCG funds for Zarul to make bribe payments to Lim. The pair said Zarul had informed them that the money was being paid to Lim.

Lim, who is the MP for Bagan, is accused of using his position as the then Penang chief minister to solicit a 10% cut in the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project’s profit from Zarul, in return for aiding the businessman’s company secure the project. He is accused of accepting RM3.3 million in kickbacks from Zarul.

The DAP chairman also faces two counts of dishonest misappropriation of property in releasing two plots of state-owned land cumulatively worth RM208.75 million to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd ― two property companies linked to the controversial undersea tunnel project.

Gnanaraja was charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2019 with deceiving a managing director of Consortium Zenith for RM19 million in relation to the Penang undersea tunnel project. He is alleged to have deceived the managing director sometime between July and August 2017.

In October last year, it was revealed that Gnanaraja’s case in Shah Alam had been classified as no further action, despite having 11 witnesses already testified.

Surin Murugiah