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22 May 2024

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Guan Eng trial: Defence wants ‘more complete’ report of Zarul, Gnanaraja texts

DAP national chairperson Lim Guan Eng’s corruption case linked to the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project, which is being heard at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, has been postponed to Oct 19, 2022.

This is for the recalled witness MACC forensic department investigation officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof to produce an image copy of the contents of a phone that belonged to Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.

Lim’s (above) counsel Gobind Singh Deo had also requested the details of another report, prepared for a separate case at the Shah Alam court, which contains a WhatsApp conversation between Zarul and businessperson G Gnanaraja.

Wan Firdaus had earlier prepared two forensic reports based on data that was extracted from Zarul’s phone, in line with forensic guidelines to preserve fragile digital evidence.

One of the reports contained an incomplete transcript of a WhatsApp conversation between Zarul and Gnanaraja, which is limited to a certain period of time.

Gobind established from Wan Firdaus during the trial today that there is another report containing the same WhatsApp conversation which was prepared for a separate case at the Shah Alam court.

‘More complete version in Shah Alam court’

On April 3, 2019, before the Shah Alam Sessions Court, Gnanaraja was charged with deceiving Zarul to pay him RM19 million in relation to the project.

Gobind said he believes the report prepared for the Shah Alam court case contains a more complete version of the same WhatsApp conversation.

Wan Firdaus said he was not the one who prepared the report for the Shah Alam court case and as such, could not provide further details about it.

He also acknowledged that investigators were initially unsuccessful in extracting the WhatsApp data but they later manually extracted it with the help of an external forensic service.

It is unknown if the report prepared for the Shah Alam court case is based on extracted data from Zarul’s or Gnanaraja’s phone.

As such, Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi also asked the witness to produce the particulars of the maker of the report for the Shah Alam court case.

This is so the prosecution and defence in this case can also have access to that report.

Former finance minister Lim is on trial over four charges.

One charge, framed under Section 16(A)(a) and Section 23 of the MACC Act, accuses him of using his position as then Penang chief minister to receive RM3.3 million as inducement for helping a company belonging to Zarul to secure the island state’s RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

The offence was allegedly perpetrated at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, 28th floor at Komtar in George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.

Under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act, the offence is punishable with imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The second charge, also under Section 16(A)(a), states that Lim, in his capacity as the Penang chief minister then, solicited from Zarul bribes amounting to 10 percent of the profits to be earned by the company as gratification for helping the company secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.

The charge, framed under Section 16 of the MACC Act, provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher. - Mkini

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