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March 15 case management for Guan Eng, Phang

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 14: The High Court here today fixed March 15 for case management of the corruption trial involving Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon.

Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail set the date after being noted that the prosecution had filed an appeal to the Federal Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on Aug 7 this year which ruled in favour of Guan Eng and Phang.

The two accused brought their cases to the court of appeal after the High Court on March 7 this year rejected their applications to declare Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 as ultra vires Articles 5(1) and 8 of the Federal Constitution.

Section 62 required accused persons to disclose their defence statements to the prosecution before commencement of a trial.

The high court in dismissing the applications of the two accused held that Section 62 was constitutional and did not impede their rights to a fair trial.

Phang’s counsel Datuk V. Sithambaram told reporters when met outside the court today that no date had been set for hearing of the prosecution’s appeal at the Federal Court.

At the proceeding today, the prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Abdul Rashid Daud while Guan Eng, by his lawyer RSN Rayer. Both accused were not present.

On June 30, 2016, the chief minister pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in relation to the conversion of land from agricultural to residential and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below-market value.

Guan Eng was charged with using his position as chief minister to gain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in southwest Penang to a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.

He allegedly committed the offence while chairing a Penang State Planning Committee meeting at the operations room, Level 28, Komtar building here, on July 18, 2014.

The charge under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Guan Eng faces a second charge of using his position to obtain for himself a plot of land and a bungalow located at No, 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town on July 28, 2015 from Phang for RM2.8mil, against the market price of RM4.27 million.

The charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code provides for a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Phang pleaded not guilty to abetting Guan Eng in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost.

She allegedly committed the offence at the same place and date, as charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165, which provides for imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.–Bernama

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