The former director of Consortium Zenith said it was impossible that the RM2m payment went to Guan Eng, when the money was part of the RM19m earmarked for Najib

KUALA LUMPUR (July 21): A former director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) told the Sessions Court on Friday (July 21) that it was impossible for a RM2 million payment to have reached Lim Guan Eng, when he was first told that it was paid through businessman G Gnanaraja to then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to maintain the company’s relationship with Najib Razak.

Ibrahim Sahari, 59, said fellow former senior director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli told him that the said money was paid to ensure CZCSB got future projects.

He said this when responding to questions from Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo during cross-examination.

Ibrahim, who was the prosecution’s 29th witness, said the RM2 million was part of the RM19 million paid to Gnanaraja.

He previously testified in Gnanaraja’s Shah Alam cheating case in 2019, and last year, and then on Friday in Lim’s undersea tunnel graft case.

He agreed with Gobind that in his testimony in 2019 in the Shah Alam court, he told the court then that Zarul was under pressure from Gnanaraja to pay a total of RM19 million earmarked for Najib.

Gobind: So Zarul Ahmad wants this money to be paid for this purpose because PM is included in the entire payment?

Gobind: So it is impossible that the RM2 million as alleged here is to pay to Lim?

Gobind: Did Zarul Ahmad say that the money to be paid to Gnanaraja was for a specific purpose?

Ibrahim: Yes, it is to maintain a close relationship with the PM so that the company can get projects.

Gobind: Who was the PM then?

Ibrahim: It was Datuk Seri Najib (Razak).

Gobind: It has nothing to do with Lim, right?

Earlier, Ibrahim and Gobind exchanged a series of his testimony at Lim’s trial and also with Gnanaraja for a payment of RM2 million.

Gobind: Isn’t this an important aspect (what you say in Shah Alam court, you say it again here)?

Gobind: Is this not what the prosecution should have done but they chose to remain silent?

Abraham: I don’t know what to comment.

The defense claims the prosecution used evidence suppression by not revealing what happened in the Shah Alam court, which was only involved in Gnanaraja’s cheating case.

It also found that the same check cashed for RM2 million was also used in Lim’s trial here.

Gnanaraja was charged with defrauding Zarul of RM19 million in connection with the undersea tunnel project, as it was to help Gnanaraja close a Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission investigation against Zarul over the project.

However, Gnanaraja was found guilty by the Shah Alam Sessions Court under an alternative charge under the Companies Act 2016, and fined RM230,000 for using a company’s property valued at RM11.42 million to obtain direct profit for himself, without seeking the approval of the company’s shareholder meeting.

Zarul informed the CZCSB board that Gnanaraja had cheated

Ibrahim agreed with Gobind that he would testify in the Shah Alam court about Zarul informing the CZCSB board that Gnanaraja had cheated him.

“I remember that Zarul Ahmad told the board that he felt he had been cheated by Gnanaraja and the company instructed its lawyers to issue a letter of demand to recover the RM19 million,” he said, adding that he was present at the meeting.

Subsequently, the company sued Gnanaraja to recover the RM19 million. However, it remains unknown what happened to the suit.

Ibrahim said he could not comment that his conflicting testimony in Gnanaraja’s Shah Alam case in 2019 and Lim’s undersea tunnel graft case exonerated the former Penang chief minister.

This follows Gobind’s submission that the RM2 million money in question was not given to Lim as suggested by the prosecution and went to Gnanaraja as he testified in Shah Alam.

“I can’t comment on that,” Ibrahim said.

Lim is facing trial for using his position as then Penang chief minister to demand a 10% cut of the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project’s revenue from Zarul, in return for helping Zarul’s company secure the project. Lim is accused of receiving RM3.3 million in kickbacks from the director.

The Bagan Member of Parliament also faces two counts of dishonest misappropriation of property over the release of two plots of state-owned land, worth a combined RM208.75 million, to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and Zenith Urban Development Sdn Bhd — two property companies linked to the controversial undersea tunnel project.

The trial before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi will continue on August 7.

Also read:
I was informed but I did not see any bribe paid to Lim Guan Eng — CZCSB ex-director
The court dismissed Guan Eng’s bid to recuse the DPP in the undersea tunnel corruption trial

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