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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Businessman’s media statements on tunnel project were false, Guan Eng trial told


Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli (left) says he ‘changed his story’ because of the MACC’s probe into the undersea tunnel project. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The star witness in Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel corruption trial told the sessions court that media statements he issued on the project after his arrest were untrue.

In his testimony, Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli acknowledged that he had claimed in the statements that there were no elements of corruption in the RM6.3 billion project and that “everything (had been) done above board”.

In the statements, he also claimed that his company, Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, had received threats from people “close” to the Barisan Nasional government.

“I made those statements because, at the back of my mind, I wanted to protect anything that I had with YB (Lim),” said Zarul during cross-examination by Lim’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo on the statements which he issued in 2018.

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Gobind: Have you now changed your story because of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigations (into the project)?

Zarul: Yes.

Gobind then suggested that Zarul, who has a previous conviction under the now repealed Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia), was “prepared to lie”.

“I don’t agree (but) I do not have a chance to explain (my change of stance) now (under cross-examination),” Zarul responded.

Lim is standing trial on charges of using his position as then Penang chief minister 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 from two companies.

Zarul disputes ‘leaked’ witness statement

Zarul also disputed the authenticity of his “leaked” witness statement to the MACC, which was purportedly published online in February 2019.

“The statement does not have my and the (MACC) recording officer’s signatures,” Zarul said.

Gobind: Can you produce your statement?

Zarul: I don’t have it

Gobind then requested the prosecution hand over Zarul’s statement to the MACC so that the defence could question Zarul about the contents.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said they would reply to the defence’s request for Zarul’s recorded statement tomorrow.

The hearing before judge Azura Alwi continues tomorrow. - FMT

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