NParks officer 'afraid to reveal ties with bike supplier'

NParks officer 'afraid to reveal ties with bike supplier'

A National Parks Board (NParks) officer told a graft officer that he hid the truth from auditors about his relationship with a bicycle supplier because he was "afraid" people would find out about it, a court heard on Tuesday.

Bikehop director Lawrence Lim Chun How had previously told the court how he met NParks assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon, 42, at a social event in September or October 2011 - three months before Bikehop put in the sole bid of $57,200 to supply 26 bicyles to NParks.

But the court has heard how Lim originally claimed to auditors that he met Mr Lawrence Lim, also 42, in March 2012.

Lim is accused of lying to the Ministry of Development (MND) auditors during a July 18, 2012, meeting and instigating Mr Lim to perpetuate the lie.

In a differing statement he made to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on August 21, 2012, Lim admitted first meeting Mr Lim in the latter half of 2011.

He said he had not come clean to his superiors about it because "I was afraid that people will find out about our relationship as it is wrong not to declare my relationship with a possible vendor/supplier".

Prosecutors referred to the statement - one of six taken after Lim's arrest on July 25, 2012 - while examining senior special investigator Mr Wilson Khoo, who took it when Lim was being investigated for wrongfully communicating information.

No corruption charges have been brought against Lim but if convicted of giving false information to public servants, he faces up to a year in prison and a fine of $5,000. He is currently suspended from his job.

Also taking the stand on Tuesday was Ms Tee Hwee Teng, 34, an MND auditor involved in interviews conducted with both Lim and Mr Lawrence Lim.

She said Lim was not shown the notes of his interview for signing off, pending an internal decision to refer the case to the CPIB.

The trial continued on Wednesday.

pohian@sph.com.sg


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