Report: AGC had no evidence to show Guan Eng knew buying house below market value

Danial Dzulkifly
Lim was charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang for RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015. — Bernama pic

PETALING JAYA, Sept 6 ― Prosecutors in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) withdrew its corruption charge against Lim Guan Eng as they did not have any evidence to show he knew he was buying his Penang house at below market value in July 2015.

Citing a high-placed anonymous government source, the New Straits Times reported today that the former Penang chief minister’s defence representation was quite stout compared to the prosecution’s case if the trial had continued.

The source also rebutted claims of similarities between Lim’s case and that of former Selangor mentri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo who was convicted in 2010 of buying a mansion valued at RM6.5 million for nearly half the price at RM3.5 million.

“How do you prove that thought process, that rationale, or thinking? In this case, this can be established only through the seller, and that is Phang.

“In Khir Toyo’s case, the seller had established that the mansion was to be sold for about RM7 million, but he eventually acquired it form only RM3.5 million.

“In this case [Lim’s], the seller asked for RM2.8 million and that was all there was to it. And she made RM300,000 from the sale,” the unnamed source was quoted saying, and added that  there was no evidence that Lim knew that his double-storey standalone house on Pinhorn Road in Penang was below market value at that time.

It has been previously reported that Lim had rented the house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon prior to buying the property.

The source noted that Lim’s defence representation was based on Section 165 of the Penal Code, which details that a public servant who obtains something of value for himself or someone else must be shown to have done it for “no consideration, or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate”, among other things.

“One must read the provisions in properly One of the ingredients is not about the price, but whether the holder of public office knew that the consideration was inadequate,” the source told the newspaper.

The source also said the valuation of the land and the stamp duty paid by Lim was inconsequential to the latter’s trial as those were only verbal agreement made between Lim and Phang.

The source added that the valuation on Lim’s house was carried out only during the corruption investigation and not at the point of sales, indicating that it would have been a weakness for the prosecution to hold that up as evidence.

Lim, who is now finance minister, was charged with using his position as then Penang chief minister to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang for RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015.

Phang was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim in regards to his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million which was below the market value or RM4.27 million whereby Lim had allegedly committed an offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

The High Court acquitted both Lim and Phang after the prosecution withdrew its charge, triggering controversy.

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