GEORGE TOWN (March 26): The first witness in Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s graft case has said he is unsure over the details of his report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) regarding the sale and purchase of Lim’s residential home, casting a doubt over his report.
Online advertisement marketing agent Muhsin Lahteef said he was not sure of the date and value of the sale and purchase of Lim’s bungalow that was allegedly sold below market value.
Muhsin, whose MACC report on March 18, 2016 launched a rigid investigation by the department over Lim’s alleged involvement in the purchase of his residential bungalow on Jalan Pinhorn here, told the High Court he was also not familiar with S&P agreements and property transactions.
The 34-year-old told Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail that he lodged the report after watching a video on a Parliamentary debate between Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya and Lim over the alleged undervalued bungalow transaction in 2015.
“I wanted to give Lim the opportunity to clear his name,” said Muhsin, also known as ‘Mamu Parpu’ on social media, while denying he is a Barisan Nasional supporter, although his Instagram handle says #kamigangNajib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s gang).
When cross-examined by Lim’s counsel Gobind Singh Deo, Muhsin contended he was uncertain over Lim’s exact S&P transaction, although his report states 2008, contrary to Shabudin who mentioned Lim bought his house in 2015.
The five-week trial which started today will feature 54 witnesses.
Last June 30, Lim pleaded not guilty to two corruption charges brought by MACC, consisting of allegations concerning his involvement in the conversion of a piece of land from agricultural status to residential, and for allegedly buying a bungalow below market value.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud, Lim is alleged to have used his position as a civil servant, namely Chief Minister, to gain gratification for himself and his wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving an application to convert the land to public housing in Balik Pulau for a company, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd.
Lim is alleged to have committed the offence while presiding over the Penang State Planning Committee meeting as its chairman at the operations room, Level 28, Komtar, on July 18, 2014.
Under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, he can be jailed up 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
In the second charge, he is alleged to have used his position to buy his bungalow on July 28, 2015 from Magnificent Emblem director Phang Li Koon for RM2.8 million, which is allegedly less than the RM4.27 million market value.
If found guilty under Section 165 of the Penal Code, Lim can be sentenced to a two-year jail term, or a fine or both.
Meanwhile, Phang, 46, pleaded not guilty to abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost.
She is liable to two years or fine or both, if found guilty under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165.