Gnanaraja’s RM19mil cheating case classified as NFA

Gnanaraja’s RM19mil cheating case classified as NFA

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court here on Tuesday (Oct 19) was told that the investigation paper (IP) of a RM19mil cheating case against a businessman, Datuk Seri G. Gnanaraja has been classified as “no further action” (NFA).

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Mahadi Abdul Jumaat disclosed the matter on Tuesday during the corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng at the Sessions Court linked to the Penang Undersea Tunnel Project.

For the record, Gnanaraja is one of the prosecution witnesses in Lim’s trial. Gnanaraja was charged at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on April 3, 2019 to three charges of cheating Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director, Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli of RM19mil.

He was alleged to have deceived Zarul Ahmad into believing that he could help him close the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation against him, linked to the same project.

Checks on the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) website found that Gnanaraja was imposed a fine of RM230,000 over a charge under Section 218 (1)(A) of the Companies Act 2016, on Dec 23, 2020.

It was understood that the charge under the Companies Act was an alternative charge that the businessperson pleaded guilty to instead of the cheating charge.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Mahadi said the IP has been classified as NFA and the prosecution team conducting the case against Lim does not have the report (on the Shah Alam case).

He clarified this when Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo said that the defence would be filing contempt proceedings against the prosecution for allegedly contravening a court order issued on Sept 29 for the MACC forensic department investigation officer Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Yusof to produce an image copy of the contents of a phone belonging to Zarul Ahmad.

The court order was also for the prosecution to furnish details of the report, prepared for the Shah Alam court case, which contained a WhatsApp conversation between Zarul Ahmad and Gnanaraja.

Gobind’s contempt claim arose following his cross-examination of Wan Mohd Firdaus on Tuesday, whereby the latter testified that he was unable to obtain the details sought by the defence team.

Wan Mohd Firdaus explained that while he had made effort to secure the details, he had trouble trying to obtain them as the defence team did not provide the full forensic report number for the Shah Alam court case.

Gobind then queried why this was a problem as DPP Nik Haslinie Hashim, who was a member of the prosecution conducting the case against Lim, also happened to be the same prosecutor involved in the Shah Alam case against Gnanaraja.

“How can the prosecution tell the witness that they don’t have the information? I want action to be taken. They are hiding documents from us. We will file a committal application as the prosecution is suppressing evidence in the case.

At this juncture, Mahadi objected to the allegation and argued that the WhatsApp conversation was not relevant to the present case against Lim.

Mahadi also claimed that Lim’s lawyers were previously involved in various bids to obtain multiple documents done in stages that allegedly delayed the trial.

The prosecutor then said that the defence should file a formal application and list all the documents that they are seeking.

Gobind then denied they were trying to delay proceedings, contending that the defence has the right to file any application for further documents or evidence at any stage of proceedings, due to any new developments that might arise.

Lim, 61, is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang Chief Minister to solicit RM3.3mil in bribes as an inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Zarul Ahmad, to secure the project worth RM6,341,383,702.

In the second amended charge, Lim was accused of soliciting a bribe of 10% of the profit from the company as gratification to secure the project.

Lim, who is the former DAP secretary-general, faced another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8mil, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.

The trial before Judge Azura Alwi will continue on Nov 23. – Bernama

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