Sunday 19 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 18): Former executive director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) Ibrahim Sahari on Monday denied lying to the Sessions Court that the RM2 million which was paid to businessman G Gnanaraja in August 2017 was given to former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

Fifty-nine-year-old Ibrahim, the 29th prosecution witness, was confronted with this when cross-examined by Lim’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo.

Gobind brought up the inconsistency in his testimonies — when he testified in the Shah Alam Sessions Court against Gnanaraja, and in this court against Lim.

The lawyer said that in Shah Alam, Ibrahim testified that in 2019, the RM2 million paid in August 2017 — part of the RM19 million that formed the cheating charge faced by Gnanaraja — was paid to the businessman.

However, in Lim’s trial here, the former CZCSB director instead had testified that the money was to be paid to Lim.

When confronted with the discrepancy, Ibrahim maintained that he was told by CZCSB senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zuklifli about the matter, and told the lawyer he should ask Zarul instead.

Gobind: In Shah Alam, you told the court the payment of RM2 million in August 2017 was paid to Gnanaraja, while at the court here in Kuala Lumpur, you said that it was paid to Lim?

Ibrahim: Yes.

Gobind: There is inconsistency in your statements.

Ibrahim: I don’t agree.

Gobind: Is that a lie?

Ibrahim: I am not lying.

Gobind: You don’t agree it was a lie?

Ibrahim: I don’t agree.

Gobind: Zarul told you he was cheated by Gnanaraja in January 2018. He (Zarul) was quite specific that he was cheated of RM19 million.

Ibrahim: Yes.

Gobind: At the same time, Zarul also told you he paid money to Lim Guan Eng?

Ibrahim: Yes, but he never told me how much.

The witness was cross-examined during Lim’s undersea tunnel graft trial. As Gobind reiterated that his testimony in the two courts seemed inconsistent, Ibrahim maintained that part of the money, possibly including the RM2 million in August 2017, was for the former Penang chief minister.

Ibrahim testified in June last year that Zarul told him funds belonging to CZCSB were used to pay Lim, and this was disclosed after Zarul was released from remand by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in January 2018.

"However, Zarul did not tell me about the amount and method of the bribes paid to Lim," he added.

Ibrahim reiterated on Monday that he was told by Zarul about the matter, despite Gobind’s continued insistence that this is a lie.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi said that the consistency of the testimonies should be determined by her court.

Letter of demand against Gnanaraja withdrawn

During re-examination by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Ibrahim agreed that CZCSB's board of directors had agreed to issue a letter of demand to Gnanaraja in January 2018.

“Yes, a letter of demand was issued by CZCSB via Messrs Shahrul & Hamidi,” the witness said.

When asked about the outcome of the matter, Ibrahim said the action was discontinued.

Wan Shaharuddin also asked Ibrahim whether he knew what was the result of Gnanaraja’s Shah Alam case, to which the witness replied he did not.

When shown documents of the Shah Alam case, Ibrahim learned that although Gnanaraja was charged with cheating, he pleaded guilty to an alternative charge in relation to an offence under the Companies Act 2016.

As a result, Gnanaraja was fined RM230,000 for using a company’s property, with a value of RM11.42 million, to obtain direct profit for himself, without seeking approval in a shareholders' meeting.

Meanwhile, when DPP Mahadi Abdul Jumaat quizzed Ibrahim over the conflicting testimonies, the witness replied that this was due to different personalities involved, namely Gnanaraja and Lim, as well as their charges.

Lim, 62, the Member of Parliament 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 profits from Zarul, in return for aiding the businessman’s company to secure the project.

Lim 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.

The trial before Azura resumes on Oct 23 to 25.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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