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Dec 6 Case Management Of Guan Eng’s Corruption Case

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GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today set Dec 6 for further case management of the corruption case involving Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over the purchase of a bungalow at below market value.

Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail set the date to enable the prosecution to complete its documents and submit them to the defence team and the court.

Hadhariah said she did not want the case to be delayed. The prosecution was conducted by DPPs Masri Mohd Daud and Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar while lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Hisyam Teh Poh Teik represented Lim and Phang, respectively.

Lim pleaded not guilty on June 30 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.

On the first count, Lim was charged as a civil servant, namely as the Chief Minister of Penang, for using his position 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 a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.

Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing the Penang State Planning Committee meeting at the Operations Room, Level 28, Komtar Building here on July 18, 2014.

He was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Earlier, lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, representing Lim, informed the court that the defence team received documents pertaining to the case from the prosecution on Sept 9, but they were not in order.

“The prosecution had served on the defence the CD containing various documents. The documents are of 13,000 pages but they are not in order and there is no indexing and some pages are not clear,” he said and asked the court to fix another date for further case management. Deputy Public Prosecutor Masri Mohd Daud did not object.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, representing Phang, suggested a period of two months for the parties to resolve the issue of the documents.

He also applied to the court to exclude Phang and Lim from being present on Dec 6 and the judge granted the request.

On June 30, 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.

On the first count, Lim was charged as a civil servant, namely as the Chief Minister of Penang, for using his position 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 a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.

Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing the Penang State Planning Committee meeting at the Operations Room, Level 28, Komtar Building here on July 18, 2014.

He was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On the second count, Lim, as a civil servant, namely the Chief Minister of Penang, was charged with obtaining for himself a plot of land and a bungalow located at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, at a price which he knew was not commensurate with its value, from Phang at RM2.8 million when the market price at the time was RM4.27 million. The offence was allegedly committed at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, on July 28, 2015.

The charge, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, provides for a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Phang, who is the former owner of the bungalow, had pleaded not guilty to obtaining the bungalow for Lim at below market price at the same place and date.

Phang, 44, was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165 of the same Act, and which provides for imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Before the court sat, Lim chatted with members of his family and several MPs.

A cloudy day and about 200 people and NGO representatives greeted Lim, his wife and other family members as they arrived at the courthouse at 9.15am. Phang had come at about 8.30am.

Security was tight at the courthouse and only Lim, Phang, their family members, several MPs, the lawyers and DPPs were allowed into the courtroom.

Only a few reporters were allowed into the court.

The policemen on duty informed other reporters waiting outside the courthouse that they had instructions not to allow reporters in.

A section of the crowd outside carried banners and posters expressing support for Lim while several NGO representatives held up posters condemning the state government administration.

Police intervened to restore order after some of the protestors engaged in a war of words and almost started fist fights. The opposing groups, which had gathered as early as 8am, dispersed at about 11am after the court proceedings ended.

North East District Police chief ACP Mior Faridalathrash Wahid advised both sides to behave in similar situations in the future.

He said the police had come prepared for any eventuality, and had adequate manpower on the ground, inside and outside the courthouse.

— BERNAMA

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