Guan Eng claims trial to two charges of misappropriation of property

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BUTTERWORTH (Sept 11): Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng today claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to two counts of dishonestly misappropriating property, namely in releasing two plots of land to Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd and Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd respectively, which are linked to the state’s underground tunnel project.

Guan Eng, 59, who is also a former Penang chief minister (CM), is charged with causing the state land registrar to dispose of the first government-owned parcel — PT Lot 702 in Bandar Tanjong Pinang said to be worth RM135.086 million — to Ewein Zenith at the Department of Lands and Mines in Komtar on Feb 17, 2015.

He is also charged with causing the state land registrar to dispose of another plot of state land — PT Lot 10012 in Bandar Tanjung Pinang worth RM73.668 million — to Zenith Urban at the Department of Lands and Mines in Komtar on March 22, 2017.

Both charges were made under Section 403 of the Penal Code.

If convicted, Guan Eng — who is the DAP secretary-general — can face a minimum six months' jail and a maximum five years' jail, as well as be liable to whipping and a fine for each of the charges.

He claimed trial before Sessions Court Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid.

Guan Eng was represented by Gobind Singh Deo, Ramkarpal Singh and RSN Rayer, while Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin appeared for the prosecution.

The judge has allowed the case to be transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court and fixed Oct 12 for mention. He also allowed the RM1 million bail posted in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for the earlier charges to also be applied to the current charges.

The former CM already claimed trial in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur last month to one charge of soliciting a 10% cut in profits from the undersea tunnel project from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.

Guan Eng allegedly asked for the bribe at The Gardens Hotel around Mid Valley City here in 2011.

The Bagan Member of Parliament (MP) is also charged in the Sessions Court here with abusing his position as a public officer to assist Zarul's company to be appointed to undertake the construction of main roads and the undersea tunnel, reportedly worth RM6.341 billion, to obtain a RM3.3 million bribe.

Guan Eng allegedly committed the crime between January 2011 and August 2017 in Komtar, Penang.

He also faces a charge that is unrelated to the tunnel project, namely abuse of power in relation to a bribe purportedly received by his wife Betty Chew.

He is charged with abusing his post as a public officer during his tenure as the chief minister and chairman of Penang Development Corp's tender committee to ensure that Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd was given an invitation for the proposed workers' village project in Batu Kawan worth RM11.61 million, which Chew allegedly had interests in.

Chew allegedly received RM372,009 from Excel Property Management & Consultancy Sdn Bhd.

More to come

Lam Jian Wyn