Guan Eng fails to transfer tunnel project corruption case to High Court

(FMT) – The High Court has dismissed former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s bid to transfer his undersea tunnel corruption case from the sessions court to a higher court.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin said Lim had failed to show exceptional circumstances for why his case warrants a higher court to hear his case.

“Corruption cases are usually heard before the sessions court. The trial judge is capable of determining the questions of law raised by the defence,” Jamil said.

With this decision, Lim’s corruption trial will start tomorrow before the sessions court.

Jamil also turned down the defence’s bid to stay tomorrow’s hearing pending an appeal.

Lim is accused of using his position as chief minister to ask Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (Zenith) senior director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli for a 10% cut of the profits which would be made from the roads and tunnel project.

The former finance minister is also accused of seeking RM3.3 million in kickbacks to appoint Zarul’s company to undertake the project.

He also faces two counts of dishonestly misappropriating RM208.7 million worth of state land to two companies.

Lim wanted his case heard before a High Court judge on grounds that there are questions of law related to the validity of Section 112 of Criminal Procedure Code as well as Sections 30, 53, 62 of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act that need to be determined.

He said that if the transfer is allowed, he can raise the questions of law up to Federal Court, as opposed to only the Court of Appeal if it goes to the sessions court.

The prosecution objected to the request for transfer, citing that it was aimed at stalling the trial set to begin tomorrow.

Lim was represented by lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Haijan Omar, while deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin appeared for the prosecution.