NParks officer in Brompton bike case to claim trial

NParks officer in Brompton bike case to claim trial
Bernard Lim Yong Soon allegedly denied he was a friend of a director of Bikehop, the supplier of the bikes. -- PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The National Parks Board (NParks) officer behind last year's Brompton bicycle procurement fiasco told the court on Friday that he will claim trial.

Bernard Lim Yong Soon, the NParks assistant director who oversaw the purchase of 26 bicycles, was charged in court on Aug29 with lying to auditors investigating the deal. The 41-year-old had allegedly denied he was a friend of a director of Bikehop, the supplier of the bikes.

A second charge alleges that Lim had persuaded the director to give the same false information to the auditors, who as a result of the lies did not look further into the relationship between them. This happened between June and July last year, when Lim was being questioned over the controversial purchase of the folding bicycles, which cost NParks $2,200 each. The case against him will be heard in court again on Oct 24.

But investigations did not uncover any elements of corruption, the authorities said in May.

Bids had been called for via a website accessible to the public and potential vendors for a period of time that was permissible under the guidelines then.

There was no requirement for more than one bid or for the purchase to be from an authorised distributor. The amount NParks had paid for the bicycles - made by British brand Brompton - was also in line with the market price then for the brand of folding bicycles.

However, the deal for the bicycles drew widespread criticism when news broke in June last year that NParks had spent a total of about $57,200 on them.

Lim has been suspended on half-pay since July last year. If convicted of giving false information to public servants, he could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.

khush@sph.com.sg


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