AGC says its referral of case against lawyer Lee Suet Fern consistent with other cases of alleged misconduct by lawyers

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) on Tuesday morning (Jan 8) responded to Mr Lee Hsien Yang's questioning of its decision to refer a possible professional misconduct case against his lawyer wife to the Law Society.

It said that the AGC's handling of the matter involving Mrs Lee Suet Fern's role in the preparation of her father-in-law and founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's last will is in accordance with the law, and consistent with how it has handled other cases of alleged professional misconduct by lawyers.

The AGC had said on Monday that it was referring Mrs Lee to the Law Society because it appeared that she had prepared the late Mr Lee's last will and arranged for him to execute it in 2013. It said that this had placed Mrs Lee in a position of conflict and was a breach of the rules governing the conduct of lawyers because her husband was a beneficiary in the will.

The share of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, increased under the final will. The AGC noted that Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said publicly that the last will was drafted by Ms Kwa Kim Li of law firm Lee & Lee. But Ms Kwa has denied drafting it.

In his Facebook post on Monday (Jan 7), Mr Lee Hsien Yang said that his wife was never the late Mr Lee's lawyer. Mr Lee died in 2015.

He also added that the AGC's assertion that his wife has refused to respond to the AGC was untrue, and called on the AGC to release the full correspondence with his wife.

He questioned the timing of the AGC decision and whether the public interest is being served. "What is the public interest that is being served by the AGC and why it is wasting public resources on a private matter, and after all this time? Why is AGC rushing this case in 2019 when the facts were known by all parties for years?"

n its response on Tuesday, the AGC said that Mrs Lee can put forward her case before the Disciplinary Tribunal appointed by the Chief Justice. It said that it does not propose to comment further on the merits of the matter and reminded "all parties to be mindful not to prejudice the proper hearing of the matter".

PM Lee and his siblings have been locked in a long-running dispute over the fate of their father's house at 38 Oxley Road.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Lee Wei Ling have accused their older brother of abusing his power and using his position as prime minister to influence a ministerial committee looking into options for the Oxley Road house.

They wanted the house to be demolished as set out in their father's last will and said that PM Lee wanted to preserve it so that he could earn political mileage. PM Lee refuted the charges of abuse of power in a two-day Parliament sitting in July 2017. He said there was no evidence to back up the claims, and that he and the Government had acted properly and with due process.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.