Star witness in Guan Eng trial unable to attend proceedings due to health scare

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — A key witness in the ongoing corruption trial of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng was not in the Sessions Court today after obtaining medical leave for four days.

Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli complained of heart palpitations yesterday during cross-examination by Guan Eng's defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo, which prompted the trial to be halted.

Today, the deputy public prosecutor told Judge Azra Alwi they were informed this morning about his condition.

"Zarul Ahmad informed us this morning that he was given (medical) leave for four days starting yesterday,” deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told the court today, according to a Malaysiakini report.

Proceedings then continued with the 30th prosecution witness Tan Gaik Eng, who is the director of a land valuation firm.

Yesterday, Zarul Ahmad, senior executive director of Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, told the Sessions Court that he had instructed his lawyers to recover a sum of RM19 million from businessman G. Gnanaraja.

The money paid to Gnanaraja was in exchange for dropping ongoing graft investigations in relation to the Penang undersea tunnel project after the latter defrauded him.

Zarul Ahmad made the disclosure when the defence asked him to clarify a letter of demand (LOD) for the return of the money and if he had explicitly stated that the RM19 million was to be "held in trust” by Gnanaraja on consultation works done.

Zarul Ahmad, who is the 23rd prosecution witness, previously told the court he had paid the RM19 million to conmen who claimed to be the "powers that be”, in exchange for investigations to be dropped.

Gnanaraja was named by Zarul Ahmad as one of the conmen.

Yesterday, Zarul Ahmad informed the court he was experiencing heart palpitations and sought for proceedings to be halted for the day.

He also produced in court a doctor's letter following a preliminary diagnosis performed on Monday and stated he was scheduled for an appointment with a specialist yesterday.

The defence then asked the witness if he could carry on with the cross-examination, to which Zarul Ahmad replied in the negative as he felt very uncomfortable and wanted to rest.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi then agreed to adjourn the hearing.