Brompton bicycle trial: NParks officer wanted to admit knowing supplier

Brompton bicycle trial: NParks officer wanted to admit knowing supplier
Bernard Lim has been suspended from his NParks' assistant director role since July 24, 2012.

THE National Parks Board (NParks) officer accused of lying over the controversial purchase of 26 Brompton bicycles had wanted to own up to knowing the supplier, a court heard on Wednesday on the second day of the trial.

Bernard Lim Yong Soon eventually admitted this and apologised to his employer, it also emerged yesterday.

Lim, 42, is accused of lying to Ministry of National Development (MND) auditors and instigating Mr Lawrence Lim Chun How of bicycle supplier Bikehop to claim that they had not known each other after the deal had drawn scrutiny in the wake of a Lianhe Zaobao report in June 2012.

While cross-examining Bikehop director Mr Lim on Wednesday, defence lawyer Lawrence Ang alleged his client had told Mr Lim and two others during a meeting that he wanted to admit he had first met the director three months before the government tender, but needed time to figure out how.

Nor did Lim insist the director lie about the fact that they know each other, said Mr Ang.

Mr Lim agreed with Mr Ang that NParks officer Lim had said he wanted to come clean and that he had not insisted Mr Lim lie.

But he also said it was not true that the NParks officer had not known about an earlier meeting Mr Lim had with MND. Said Mr Lim: "He should have known about it. I did mention I needed to e-mail MND to clarify our relationship."

Mr Yong Fook Chyi, NParks' director of resource management, testified yesterday that Lim had admitting to making a "wrong judgment call" at a meeting on July 20, 2012. This was two days after he had allegedly lied to the MND auditors.

Also taking the stand was NParks' Mr Su Weiqiang, who said Lim and Mr Lawrence Lim did not behave like they knew each other at a meeting he had also attended in March 2012.

Mr Su also acknowledged an instant messaging exchange he had with Lim about the tender. In the exchange read out in court, Lim had told him to "just award asap (as soon as possible)" after a five-day window had closed in January 2012.

Bikehop was the only firm that took part in the tender. It put in two bids, including the successful one to supply the foldable bicycles at $2,200 each, in the $57,200 deal.

Lim has been suspended from his NParks' assistant director role since July 24, 2012.

No corruption charges have been brought against him. But 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. The trial continues today.

pohian@sph.com.sg


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