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What next for the women?

Two other lawyers, Ms Gloria James-Civetta and Mr Rajan Supramaniam, said the four women should be charged with corruption. -TNP
Rennie Whang and Shaffiq Alkhatib

Sun, Jun 16, 2013
The New Paper

Ms Pang Chor Mui, star witness in Peter Lim Sin Pang's corruption trial.

Former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Benedict Lim Sin Pang was sentenced to six months' jail yesterday, and his lawyers immediately filed an appeal.

Lim, 53, is out on $15,000 bail.

But what next for the three women involved in his sex-for-contracts case?

While Lim's trial focused on Ms Pang Chor Mui, the former general manager of Nimrod Engineering, he also admitted to being intimate with two others.

Seven other charges involving Ms Esther Goh Tok Mui, the business development director of information technology firm NCS, and Ms Lee Wei Hoon, the director of technology firm Singapore Radiation Centre, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said that as Lim agreed to have these charges taken into consideration, "(he) has in substance admitted he committed those offences".

She said that notwithstanding Ms Pang's liking for Lim and the consensual nature of the fellatio, she was "primarily influenced by the substantial control (Lim) had over the contracts that SCDF could enter into".

In corruption cases, there is a giver and a taker. Lim has been dealt with as a taker.

The question is whether the three women would be charged next.

If so, what about Ms Darinne Ko, the woman in ex law professor Tey Tsun Hang's sex-for-grades case?

He was sentenced to five months' jail. Like Lim, he is appealing and is out on bail.

Lawyer Chia Boon Teck said the law makes it an offence for both the giver and the recipient, but the prosecution has the authority to exercise its discretion whether to charge the parties in court.

"My observations are that the prosecution tends to charge both giver and recipient in private corruption cases, but for government bodies, the prosecution seems more interested to prosecute the civil servant recipient than the private giver," he said.

"Perhaps there is a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption in the civil service and in this regard, the prosecution might prefer to secure the full cooperation of the giver (in exchange for immunity from prosecution) so as to nail the corrupt civil servant."

Two other lawyers, Ms Gloria James-Civetta and Mr Rajan Supramaniam, said the four women should be charged with corruption.

But, they stressed that this was up to the prosecutors. Mr Supramaniam said: "I've been in practice for 13 years and handled many corruption cases. I've seen only two or three cases where the givers were not charged. Such cases are quite rare."

In most cases, both the giver and the taker were dealt with in court.

For instance, a former chef from Holiday Inn Atrium was last week fined $24,000 for taking bribes from the owner of Wealthy Seafood Product and Enterprise.

Chinese chef Leung Wing Cheung, 51, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $28,796, the amount of bribes he took from Tay Ee Tiong, who was jailed for 1½ years in September 2011.

In July last year, Changi Airport terminal manager Abdul Rahim Jumaat, then 45, was jailed two weeks, fined $36,000 and ordered to pay a $5,080 penalty for taking bribes from a freelance travel agent, Abdul Falik Abdul Latiff, then 50. Falik, who bribed Rahim to tell him which passengers were travelling without check-in luggage, was jailed two weeks and fined $12,000 last November.

Tricked into having sex

In Tey's case, Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye said he persisted in "taking advantage of" Ms Ko and "tricked (her) into having sex with him".

Lawyer Chung Ting Fai, who was not involved in the case, noted that while Ms Ko had been portrayed as the victim with regards to the sex, it still left open the possibility that she could be charged over the gifts.

And while former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay was acquitted in February of corruption charges, what of Ms Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, who was named in the charges and was the prosecution's star witness?

District Judge Siva Shanmugam wrote of Ms Sue in his grounds of decision: "Effectively, she has been untruthful to both the court and the law enforcement agency."

Mr Chung said while there is the possibility of Ms Sue being charged for perjury, this was remote as "in almost all trials, there will be people found to have been untruthful".

When The New Paper asked the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) if it would prosecute the five women, its spokesman said the AGC will assess the matter in due course.

When asked if the five women would be dealt with, a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau spokesman said it was not appropriate to comment as the cases have yet to be fully concluded.

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