Sex for contracts: Peter Lim guilty of corruption

Former civil defence force chief Peter Lim Sin Pang was found guilty of corruption by a district court yesterday in his sex-for-contracts trial.

In a scathing judgment, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said the 52-year-old had lied and embellished his account of what had happened. He was also evasive throughout the trial and changed his positions too often.

"I did not find him a credible witness nor a witness of truth," she said.

One example was the way Lim had flip-flopped on what led to his tryst with Ms Angie Pang Chor Mui, said the judge.

Lim was charged with corruptly obtaining oral sex on May 2, 2010, from Ms Pang, a general manager with Nimrod Engineering. In exchange, he tipped Ms Pang off about a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) tender for radiation portal monitors about 10 months later. Nimrod put in a bid for the project shortly after.

Judge Hamidah said that, initially, Lim had said the sex was a result of a friendship that had taken on a flirty tone.

But as the trial progressed, he changed his story - saying that Ms Pang forced herself on him and that he caved in out of pity.

"If I were to accept his explanations, it would appear as if the accused was practically like a lamb led to the slaughter by Ms Angie (Pang)," said the judge.

"And he was so magnanimous when he made the supreme sacrifice by allowing a woman, whom he was never physically attracted to, to give him fellatio."

Instead, the judge ruled that it was Lim who asked Ms Pang for oral sex, knowing that he was making her "an offer which she could not refuse".

He knew that Nimrod was a contractor of SCDF and that Ms Pang, being the second-in- command at the company, would not have wanted to jeopardise her relationship with Lim by rejecting him.

Judge Hamidah also rejected suggestions by the defence that Lim and Ms Pang were friends. "The friendship was rather superficial and their interaction limited. There was neither depth nor substance in this relationship," she said.

Lim, who appeared cheerful when he arrived in court with his lawyers earlier, wore a pained expression as the judgment was read. He later issued a statement through his lawyers Hamidul Haq and K. Balanchandran, saying he was "disappointed" with the verdict.

Mr Haq said Lim will decide whether to appeal after reading the judge's grounds of decision. Both sides will return on June 7 for a sentencing hearing.

Lim, who was released on $15,000 bail, still faces nine other corruption charges that will be dealt with separately. They involve two other women who also work for technology firms.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said last night that it will continue to hold in abeyance its own disciplinary proceedings against Lim until a final outcome in the trial. He will, in the meantime, remain interdicted from his duties with the SCDF.

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