Ex-official's home to be sold to pay back SLA

Ex-official's home to be sold to pay back SLA

SINGAPORE - A freehold house partly owned by the jailed former deputy director of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Koh Seah Wee, will be sold as the agency tries to reclaim millions of dollars it had been cheated of.

Half of the money from the sale of the property on the open market will go to the SLA. The other half will go to the other joint owner, Koh's wife Yeing Nyok Sea, 42.

She is among 18 individuals who have been sued by SLA in its efforts to recover the $12.5 million it lost, following a 2007 conspiracy involving Koh.

SLA, represented by Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng and lawyer Melanie Ho, said in a statement released on Tuesday that it has obtained a judgement in its favour, which Yeing has agreed to.

Under the terms, the property located at the Eight@East Coast development at 8G East Coast Avenue will be put up for sale without delay, at the best possible price. A property search showed the 3,003 sq ft cluster house was last transacted for $1.48 million in 2006.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at SLP International, told The Straits Times that the property could now possibly fetch about $2.7 million.

"It's a slightly conservative estimate. Currently some of the houses around there are being offered for sale between $2.8 million and $3.1 million," he said. "The number of buyers is limited for such big-ticket items, but there is still reasonable demand for landed housing."

In addition to the sale of the property, several items seized by the Commercial Affairs Department in the course of its investigations will be turned over to the SLA in restitution.

These include a Hublot watch, a Franck Muller watch, a golden Louis Vuitton bag and a POSB Kids Trust account.

Koh, a former deputy director of SLA's technology and infrastructure department, was sentenced to 22 years in jail in 2011 for his part in the conspiracy.

His accomplice, Lim Chai Meng, then a manager on secondment from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, was jailed for 15 years.

The pair had came up with fake quotations to cheat the SLA into paying for products and services that were never delivered.

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