I gave Guan Eng RM200,000 as part of 10% cut, businessman tells court

(FMT) – The star witness in Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel project corruption trial told the sessions court he paid RM200,000 to the then Penang chief minister to “fulfil” part of his promise to give him a 10% cut of the project’s profits.

Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli said the money was paid to Lim in 2013 and 2014.

He said he gave Lim RM100,000 in August 2013 and another RM100,000 in January 2014, after he withdrew the money from his other companies’ bank accounts.

“For the first payment, after I managed to secure an appointment through YB Lim’s office in Komtar, I prepared an envelope where I put in the RM100,000,” he said.

“During the meeting, I handed over the envelope containing the cash to YB Lim. I did not tell him how much was inside the envelope.

“I only mentioned ‘this is for you, sir’, and he took the envelope from me.”

He said Lim was smiling when he took the envelope from him.

For the second payment, Zarul said he withdrew another RM100,000 to pay Lim before Chinese New Year in 2014.

“I met Lim again in Komtar in the evening. I brought an envelope containing RM100,000 cash with me.

“When I handed over the envelope to YB Lim, he did not reject it and did not ask what was inside,” he said, adding that Lim also looked happy when he received the envelope.

Lim is on trial on charges of using his position to ask Zarul for a 10% cut of the profits from the undersea tunnel project, and accepting RM3.3 million in kickbacks from the businessman.

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

‘Indebted to Lim’

Zarul also told the court he felt “indebted” to Lim after the Penang government awarded his company the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

“My status as a successful Bumiputera businessman was elevated after I was given the project,” he said.

“I knew it was an offence to promise a (10%) cut in the project, but I wanted to repay those (such as Lim) who helped me.”

He also told the court he gave a media interview before he was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2018 in an attempt to “save” the project and to minimise negative publicity.

The hearing before judge Azura Alwi continues tomorrow.