A National Parks Board (NParks) assistant director, accused of lying to auditors over the purchase of 26 foldable bicycles, had explained to an anti-graft officer why he denied personally knowing the director of a bicycle supplier, a court heard on Wednesday.
Bernard Lim Yong Soon, 42, made the statement to Mr Chew Siu Keong of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Nov 15, 2012. He said he had denied the relationship because he feared disciplinary action.
He also told Mr Chew he helped Bikehop director Lawrence Lim by approaching him over the impending tender out of "empathy" as he was a "small industry player".
But the Nov 15 statement was made while he was being investigated for cheating, not lying, defence lawyer Lawrence Ang pointed out on Wednesday, the sixth day of the trial.
Lim is accused of lying to the National Development Ministry's auditors on July 18, 2012 that he did not know the director of Bikehop before it put in the sole bid of $57,200 to supply the Brompton bikes to NParks earlier that year. He is also accused of instigating him to perpetuate the lie.
Before these two charges were slapped on him, Lim was investigated for various possible offences, including corruption and wrongfully communicating information.
His Nov 15 statement - one of six - was recorded while being probed for allegedly cheating his superior into approving the purchase of the bicycles.
Earlier in the trial, the court heard that he met Mr Lawrence Lim at a social event in 2011 and that he had tipped him off about the tender later.
While cross-examining Mr Chew and his colleague Wilson Khoo on Wednesday, Mr Ang questioned both about the circumstances under which the statement had been recorded.
He asked Mr Chew if he had known when recording the statement that the public prosecutor had asked the CPIB in October 2012 to investigate Lim for lying. Mr Chew replied: "I was not aware."
Mr Khoo, separately, conceded that there had been a "slight oversight" over the offence being investigated when the statement was recorded.
But, he said: "At the time, we were also looking at the cheating offence. I told my colleagues we were looking at both (cheating and lying)."
If convicted, Lim, who is now suspended from his job, can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.
The prosecution closed its case on Wednesday. Dates are to be fixed for submissions on whether the court should order Lim to give his defence.
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