Guan Eng Trial Gnanaraja Threatened Me With Money Laundering Case Zarul
A key witness in Lim Guan Eng’s corruption case linked to the RM6.3 billion Penang Undersea Tunnel project claimed that the former was threatened with a money laundering charge and this was one reason why he paid a ‘middle person’ RM19 million to settle the case.
Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli told the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today that businessperson G Gnanaraja conveyed the threat to him via Whatsapp.
In previous proceedings of the graft trial against former Penang chief minister Lim, 23rd prosecution witness Zarul (above) claimed that he roped in Gnanaraja - an alleged close associate of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak - to deliver bribes to the accused.
On April 3, 2019, before the Shah Alam Sessions Court, Gnanaraja was charged with deceiving Zarul to pay him RM19 million in relation to the project.
The businessperson was alleged to have convinced Zarul that the former could use his political connections to close MACC's investigations against the latter in relation to the project.
Under cross-examination by Lim’s defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo this morning, Zarul claimed that the threat was among other reasons he paid the RM19 million to Gnanaraja, and not the sole reason.
Gobind: You are aware of the fact that you received WhatsApp from Gnanaraja where you were threatened with Amla (Anti-Money Laundering Act) proceedings?
Gobind: Do you remember what the WhatsApp (message) said?
Zarul: My name and my IC (Identification Card number).
Gobind: He said you would be charged under Amla?
Gobind: There was a (threatened) charge against you?
Gobind: This would impact your company?
Gobind: That is why you made the (RM19 million) payment?
Zarul: I disagree, it was not the only reason.
Gobind: I put it to you that was the only reason.
Zarul: I disagree.
Proceedings before trial judge Azura Alwi will resume tomorrow due to the trial ending early today from a technical glitch in the court’s audio system.
Previously, Zarul claimed in his testimony of being shocked that Lim in 2011 asked for 10 percent of future profits in the project, that the accused received a RM100,000 bribe with a smile in 2013, and that the Malay spirit helped him (Zarul) overcome immense pressure from the MACC probe into the case.
Zarul also testified that after being remanded for 11 days by MACC in January 2018, he then lied to the media about being pressured by individuals with purported links to BN.
Guan Eng’s corruption charges
Former finance minister Lim is on trial over four charges.
One charge, framed under Section 16(A)(a) and Section 23 of the MACC act, accuses him of using his position as then Penang chief minister for the gratification of RM3.3 million as inducement for helping a company belonging to Zarul to secure the island state's RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.
The offence was allegedly perpetrated at the Penang Chief Minister's Office, 28th floor at Komtar in George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.
Under Section 23(1) of the MACC act, the offence is punishable with imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
The second charge, also under Section 16(A)(a), states that Lim, in his capacity as the Penang chief minister then, solicited from Zarul bribes amounting to 10 percent of the profits to be earned by the company as gratification for helping the company secure the project.
The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.
The charge, framed under Section 16 of the MACC act, provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
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