GEORGE TOWN – The High Court here today fixed Nov 14 for management of a corruption case involving Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over the purchase of a bungalow at below the market price.
Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail set the date after lawyer R.S.N Rayer, representing Lim, informed the court that the hearing of the appeal application by Lim and Phang against a High Court’s decision in rejecting their application to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act at the Court of Appeal would begin on Aug 7.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutors Budiman Lutfi Mohamed and Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, while Phang was represented by lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram.
Lim and Phang were however not in the court today.
On March 7 this year, the court rejected a petition by Lim and Phang to declare Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 as unconstitutional and void. Lim and Phang filed the application in January this year.
(Section 62 states that once the prosecution submits documents pursuant to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused shall, before the trial begins, submit the following documents:
(a) a statement of defence and
(b) a copy of any document that can be presented as part of the evidence for the defence.).
On June 30 last year, Lim pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in the conversion of land from agriculture to housing, and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below market value.
For the first charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant, namely the Penang Chief Minister, of using his position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the conversion of agricultural land to residential in the southwest of Penang for a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.
Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing a meeting of the Penang State Planning Committee in the Operations Room, 8th Floor, Komtar tower on July 18, 2014. He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 which provides for a jail-term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of graft involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
On the second charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant of obtaining for himself a plot of land and a bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, at a price which he knew did not commensurate with its value from Phang, at RM2.8 million, when its market value at the time was RM4.27 million.
He allegedly committed the offence at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, on July 28, 2015.
The charge, under Section 165 of the Penal Code, provides a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both upon conviction.
Phang, as the former owner of the bungalow, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring with Lim for him to obtain the bungalow at below market price at the same place and date.
The businesswoman 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, or fine, or both, if convicted. – BERNAMA