Lim faces another graft charge
Lim Guan Eng

Lim’s wife also will be charged tomorrow at the Butterworth Sessions Court under AMLA Act 2001

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

FORMER Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) will be charged at the Penang Sessions Court for two days, in addition to one count of corruption charge levelled against him in Kuala Lumpur (KL) last Friday.

Lim is expected to be charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 in connection to the RM6.3 billion Penang Undersea Tunnel project, while tomorrow’s hearing involves a different case, according to the previous MACC statement.

Meanwhile, Lim’s wife Betty Chew is set to be charged tomorrow at the Butterworth Sessions Court under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001 for involvement with a private company Excel Property Management and Consultancy Sdn Bhd, according to her lawyer Lee Khai.

Lee was reported as saying that Chew’s case “got nothing to do with the undersea tunnel project”.

Chew was detained at the Penang MACC office at 10:45am last Friday and her statement was recorded.

She was later released on a RM50,000 bail after almost six hours.

Lim had decried the arrest of his wife, describing it as uncalled for, as she was not involved in the RM6.3 billion Penang Undersea Tunnel project.

Lim said on his official Facebook posting that he was upset when he was told about his wife’s arrest.

“I was upset when I heard that my wife was arrested by the MACC even though she had nothing to do with the tunnel project or government matters. I was relieved when she was released.

“I was concerned that she would need to spend a night in the MACC lock-up like me,” he added.

Last Friday, Lim pleaded not guilty of soliciting 10% gratifications of the profits to be made by the company from Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli over the Penang Undersea Tunnel project.

Lim, who was the Penang chief minister at the time, allegedly committed the offence near The Gardens Hotel in Mid Valley City, KL, in March 2011.

The charge was framed under Section 16 (a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 and punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same Act, which provides imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Judge Azura Alwi set RM1 million bail with two sureties and ordered Lim to surrender his personal and diplomatic passports for his release.

The Penang Undersea Tunnel has been proposed to be built for 7.2km connecting Butterworth and Georgetown.

Lim, when met outside the court last week, vowed to prove his innocence, saying that he had told the anti-graft commission that he did not receive any money from the project.

“In fact, they never asked me to prove whether I have millions of ringgit in my bank account or cash in my possession,” Lim told reporters after he was charged in the Sessions Court.

“I will fight to prove my innocence in court.”

The project was controversial particularly due to the high cost of its RM305 million feasibility studies and the report was delayed by two years.

In June 2016, Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon had been charged at the Penang High Court with corruption involving the purchase of a bungalow below the market price.

After a series of trials, the court granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal for Lim and Phang in September 2018.