Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has sought an explanation from Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd on the RM22 million the company reportedly paid out for "consultancy" work on the Penang undersea tunnel project.
In a statement today, Lim cited a letter by state secretary Farizan Darun, addressed to Zenith CEO Zarul Mohd Zulkifli, which said the matter was decided upon following a state secretariat meeting on Feb 28.
"The secretariat had found news reports that your party had paid out RM22 million to several individuals for 'consultancy work', to ensure, among others, regulatory compliance and risk management, to safeguard your interests in the project.
"After discussing the issue, the state government would like an explanation about the payment, as mentioned in news reports recently.
“Since your party is appointed as the contractor for the project by the state government, the state secretariat has decided that you have to present an explanation for the payment, as soon as possible," says the letter, signed by Farizan.
To date, the MACC has arrested two individuals – a 37-year-old "Datuk Seri" and a 64-year-old "Datuk” – who allegedly received RM19 million and RM3 million respectively in connection with the project.
Both men had reportedly received the money from Zenith to "settle" the MACC's investigation into the project.
Zarul has thus far declined to comment on the matter.