Guan Eng, Li Koon seek to drop graft charges


Former Penang Chief Minister (CM) Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon are to file their respective representations to the Attorney General’s Chambers for the corruption charges against them, pertaining to the purchase of a bungalow at below market value, to be dropped.

Lim’s counsel Ramkarpal Singh said this during the mention of the case before High Court Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail.

Ramkarpal said he would be filing the representation soonest possible, and so applied for the case to be postponed to a later date.

An application was also filed by Phang’s lawyer Datuk V Sithambaram on similar grounds.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud said the prosecution had no objection to the postponement.

The court fixed July 30 for the next mention. Hadhariah said the court had no choice but to postpone the trial following the latest developments.

“During the recent election, Lim could not be present and the case was postponed. Now, the latest development is Lim is being sworn in as finance minister, and lawyer Gobind Singh Deo as the minister of communications and multimedia.

“There have been many changes. The lawyers, meanwhile, have also applied for postponement to file the representations.

“The court cannot prevent the counsel from filing the application, and we do not know how long (it will take), so the court has no choice but to postpone the case,” she said.

On April 9, the case was postponed, as Lim had to prepare for the 14th General Election, although the prosecution had protested against it.

Both Lim and lead counsel Gobind were absent in court yesterday as they were due to be sworn in as ministers at the Istana Negara.

So far, the trial has only taken place for two days, on March 26 and 27, as the defence had filed for the case to be postponed because Gobind and Lim wanted to attend the tabling of the motion on the redelineation of electoral boundaries, as well as the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018.

To date, the prosecution has called 25 witnesses and is expected to call another 29.

In the first amended charge, Lim, was accused of abusing his post as CM of Penang to obtain gratification for himself and wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving a request from Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd for the conversion of agricultural land, to build public houses.

Lim, 58, was charged with committing the offence when chairing the Penang State Planning Committee meeting on the 28th floor of the Komtar building in George Town on July 18, 2015.

He was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On the second charge, Lim was accused to have abused his position with acquiring a bungalow on Jalan Pinhorn, Georgetown, from businesswoman Phang, whom he also allegedly had official dealings with for RM2.8 million, which was about RM1.5 million below the market price at the time.

Lim was charged with committing the offence at No 25 Jalan Pinhorn on Oct 21, 2015, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail sentence of up to two years, a fine, or both upon conviction.

Phang, meanwhile, pleaded not guilty to allegations of abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at a lower price.

She was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both upon conviction.