Penang High Court Drops Corruption Charges Against Lim Guan Eng
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon were granted full acquittal by the High Court earlier today, 3 September
The prosecution initially proposed for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) under Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code
Malaysiakini reported that the proposal came after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Masri Daud agreed to withdraw all charges against Lim and Phang.
However, lawyers of the defendants objected the request as it was "not right" to continue letting the case hang over Lim and Phang's heads. Phang's lawyer, V. Sithambaram argued that there was no reason for a DNAA since the Attorney-General's Chambers had decided to withdraw charges.
Hadhariah agreed with the defendants' lawyers, saying that the court could not afford to keep Lim and Phang's case pending.
"The prosecution team is asking to withdraw it, but we can't allow you to do it either in instalments or in commas," Hadhariah said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) expressed shocked over Lim and Phang's acquittal in a statement
"We are very shocked indeed with the court's decision to free Lim of his corruption charges and the prosecution's application to withdraw the case," MACC said in its statement issued soon after Lim and Phang's acquittal.
MACC also stressed that the decision to withdraw the charges against the defendants was made by the Attorney-General's Chambers and not the MACC.
Lim and Phang were arrested and charged in 2016 for corruption
Lim was previously charged under the MACC Act and the Penal Code for abusing his power by converting state land from agriculture to commercial, as well as purchasing a bungalow below market price.
The first offence, under Section 23 of the MACC Act, includes a minimum jail sentence of 20 years and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
Under Section 165 of the Penal Code, Lim's second offence carries a maximum imprisonment of two years, a fine, and forfeiture of property.
Free Malaysia Today reported that Phang, who sold the bungalow to Lim, was also arrested under Section 165 of the Penal Code for using Lim's position for gratification.