Guan Eng, wife lose bid to dismiss corruption case over home purchase evidence

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The Penang High Court has ruled that the corruption trial of Lim, Chew, and Phang will continue. — Bernama photo

GEORGE TOWN (May 3): The corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, his wife Betty Chew, and businesswoman Phang Li Koon will continue, the High Court here ruled today.

Judicial Commissioner Rofiah Mohamad said this after dismissing their applications to strike out corruption charges against them.

She also fixed July 26 for case management.

Lim, Chew, and Phang applied to the High Court last year to strike out the corruption charges against them involving a RM11.6 million foreign workers’ dormitory project.

In their application, they claimed that the prosecution was using the same evidence from a previous criminal case involving the purchase of Lim’s home in Jalan Pinhorn despite his acquittal and discharge in 2018.

When delivering her decision, Rofiah said there was a major difference in the previous offence and the current charges.

She said different individuals were involved and that they were not part of the earlier case.

She then argued that the principle of double jeopardy did not apply.

“For this doctrine to apply, the offence and facts must be the same,” she said.

She said there were no findings from the 25 witnesses in the previous unrelated criminal case against Lim where he was acquitted in 2018.

She also said the attorney general has the discretion in instituting proceedings against the accused.

“To challenge that AG’s discretion is not absolute, a judicial review has to be filed instead of this application,” she said.

Later, outside the courtroom, Lim’s lawyer, RSN Rayer, said they will wait foir the full grounds of judgement from the High Court before filling an appeal.

“We will definitely file an appeal against this decision,” he said.

He said they will also be applying for a stay of the corruption proceedings pending the appeal.

Lim said he and his wife will continue to fight and clear their name.

In August 2020, Lim, 64, was charged with abusing his power to obtain RM372,009 for his wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng sometime between August 19 in 2013 and March 3 in 2016 at the Penang chief minister’s office at Level 28 in Komtar.

He allegedly used his position as the Penang chief minister and Penang Development Corporation (PDC) Tender Board to obtain gratification for his wife Chew through Excel Property Management & Consultancy Sdn Bhd.

He allegedly used his position to ensure Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd was offered a request for proposal for a workers’ quarters project in Batu Kawan in South Seberang Perai worth RM11,610,000.

Phang, 52, was charged with abetting Lim in the offence.

Chew was charged with three counts of money laundering in which we allegedly received a total RM372,009 on three different occasions between October 7 in 2013 and March 3 in 2016.

Both Lim and Phang were charged under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 while Chew was charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

Datuk V Sithambaran represented Phang, while Syed Faisal Syed Amir, Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, and Shafiq Hasim prosecuted. — Malay Mail