GEORGE TOWN, Jun 30 – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Khoon have been charged at the Sessions Court over their bungalow deal last year and also charge relating to a land application. Lim arrived at the courthouse in George Town at about 10.05am on Thursday to face two charges against him.
Lim, who was immaculately dressed in a white shirt with his signature red tie and black coat, was charged with allegedly using his position as Chief Minister to obtain gratification (suapan). Lim has claimed trial to two charges before Sessions Court judge Roslan Hamid. One charge was under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and another under the Penal Code.
He was charged with using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem, during a state exco meeting on July 18, 2014, at Bilik Gerakan in Komtar, to convert agricultural land to residential land.
Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 carries a maximum imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher. Lim was also charged under section 165 of the Penal Code, which is punishable with a maximum of two years’ jail, a fine, or both, upon conviction.
On this charge, Lim was alleged obtaining benefit from his position as a public servant and Chief Minister when he purchased his bungalow located at no. 25, Jalan Pinhorn for RM2.8 million from Phang Li Koon, when the actual market value was RM4.27million on July 28, 2015.
Lim was represented by Gobind Singh Deo who led the defence team, Ramkarpal Singh, R.S.N Rayer, M. Kulasegaran, P. Subramaniam and M. Manoharan. Phang, a businesswoman, was also charged of abetment for allegedly selling the bungalow on Pinhorn Road to Lim on July 28, 2015 at below its actual market value.
She was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim on July 28, 2015 on the sale of the bungalow at Jalan Pinhorn. The offence carries up to two years’ jail, a fine, or both upon conviction. Phang was represented by Datuk K. Kumaraendran, Dev Kumaraendran Raj Shanker and Chetan Jethawani.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali is leading the prosecution team. Apandi asked for the case to be transferred to the Penang High Court. Justice Roslan allowed the application and set the case for mention at the High Court. Both Guan Eng and Phang pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to their respective charges.
At the High Court, Judicial Commissioner Azmi Ariffin set bail for Lim at RM1 million with one surety.Lim however was allowed to keep his passport on the codition he notifies the Attorney General Chamber’s and the High Court two days before leaving the country. Meanwhile, Azmi Ariffin also set bail for Phang at RM200,000 with one surety, and without conditions. The date for next hearing has been set at September 22.