GEORGE TOWN, March 27 2018 : The High Court was today told that Citibank Berhad approved a RM2.1 million housing loan to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in 2015 for a residential property priced at RM2.8 million.
Lim Wern Shern who was Citibank Berhad, Penang sales manager from 2012 till November 2017 confirmed that the “Application For Credit Facility – Letter of Approval” in Lim Guan Eng’s name dated July 23, 2015, was the loan approval letter for Lim, sent to Lim’s address, of which a copy was sent to Messrs Zaid Ibrahim & Co.
The prosecution’s 12th witness in Lim and Phang Li Koon’s corruption trial also confirmed that the signature on page 29 of the letter was Lim’s and the agreement was signed on July 24, 2015 at Lim’s office in Komtar here, where he (witness) was also present.
“I confirm that the signature in the ‘Signature of Purchaser(s)’ column is Lim’s, while the signature in the ‘Signature of Vendor(s)’ column is Phang Li Koon’s.
“I personally met Phang Li Koon to get the confirmation and signature,” he said, reading out his witness statement before justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail at the trial which entered its second day.
Wern Shern who currently works as a certified financial planner at a real estate company, said the property with a price tag of RM2.8 million located at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, Georgetown comprised 10,000 square feet of land and a house with a built up area of 6,000 sq ft .
Referring to a letter dated June 18, 2015 in Lim’s name, he said Lim had applied for a loan of RM2.1 million with a repayment period of 15 years based on a monthly installment of RM16,172.39.
“The loan amount given by Citibank Berhad is 75 per cent of the value of the property; as the price of the house was RM2.8 million, therefore the loan allowed was RM2.1 million,” he said.
Wern Shern said the loan application was Lim’s second. He said Lim cancelled the first housing loan agreement signed on Dec 18, 2013.
He said on June 5, 2015, Lim’s wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng contacted him to reopen the loan agreement with Citibank and on the following June 8, he met Betty at her office on 9th Floor, Menara Penang Garden here.
He said he brought along a fresh loan application form as the previous form had been cancelled and was no longer valid.
He then interviewed Betty and filled out the new bank loan application form under Lim Guan Eng’s name. The trial is ongoing with the prosecution calling its 19th witness.
On the first amended charge, Lim is accused of using his position as a public official (Penang Chief Minister) to approve an application for rezoning of land in Southwest District, Penang from agricultural to public housing status to a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd, in his and his wife’s interest.
Lim, 58, allegedly committed the offence while chairing the Penang State Planning Committee Meeting on 28th Floor, Komtar Building, George Town here on July 18, 2014.
He faces Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which carries a maximum 20 years jail and fine of not less than five times the amount involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
On the second amended charge, Lim allegedly as a public official (Penang Chief Minister), corruptly procured a piece of land and bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town here from businesswoman Phang on Oct 21, 2015, for an undervalued RM2.8 million as against the market price of RM4.27 million.
The charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code provides for up to two years imprisonment or a fine, or both, on conviction.
Meanwhile, Phang also claimed trial to an amended charge of abetting Lim to acquire the property at an undervalued price.
She allegedly committed the offence at the same place and date, under Section 109 of the Penal Code read with Section 165 which carries up to two years jail or a fine or both on conviction. – Bernama