GEORGETOWN — Jan. 10, 2018: The High Court here today fixed 23 days beginning March 26 to hear the corruption trial of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon in connection with the purchase of a bungalow by Lim.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd. Daud had earlier mentioned to Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail that the Federal Court had ruled that Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act was not in breach of the federal Constitution. The apex court’s decision on this was what had delayed the hearing.
“Today too we want to tender amended charges against the two. Considering that both are not in court today, we will do so before the hearing starts,” he said.
The prosecution plans to call 40 witnesses.
Masri also proposed for the hearing to begin next month but lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, representing Lim, requested for it to be held in March as he had other cases to attend to.
Last December 14, the Federal Court ruled the said Section 62 to be constitutional.
Section 62 states that once delivery of documents by the prosecution pursuant to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code has taken place, the accused shall, before commencement of the trial, deliver the following documents to the prosecution:
(a) a defence statement setting out in general terms the nature of the defence and the matters on which the accused takes issue with the prosecution, with reasons; and (b) a copy of any document which will be tendered as part of the evidence for the defence.
On June 30 last year, Lim pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in relation to the conversion of land from agricultural to residential and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below market value.
Lim, 58, was charged with using his position as a civil servant/Chief Minister of Penang to gain gratification for himself and his wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in southwest Penang to Magnificient Emblem Sdn. Bhd.
He allegedly committed the offence while chairing the Penang State Planning Committee meeting on July 18, 2014.
Lim faces a second charge of using his position to obtain for himself a plot of land and a bungalow on Jalan Pinhorn here on July 28, 2015, from Phang for RM2.8 million, a price which he allegedly knew did not commensurate with the property’s then market value of RM4.27 million.
Phang pleaded not guilty to abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost. She allegedly committed the offence at the same place and date. — Bernama