SINGAPORE - Former Ministry of Foreign Affairs protocol chief Lim Cheng Hoe, 61, was sentenced to 15 months' jail yesterday.
The public service veteran had earlier pleaded guilty to having pilfered $88,997 of taxpayers' money, mostly on thousands of boxes of pineapple tarts he claimed he had bought but never did.
The prosecution had sought an 18-month jail term, citing a series of aggravating factors.
Not only was Lim a public servant who abused his position, but he also committed the acts repeatedly over more than four years.
Lim's lawyer, Mr Philip Fong, said in mitigation that a prison term of between eight and 10 months and a fine was enough, as Lim has paid back the money, did not benefit personally and made the false claims only to cut through bureaucratic red tape.
When asked how he felt before the sentencing, Lim, a non-graduate who rose through the ranks over 38 years in public service, said: "Just get it over and done with." He started serving his sentence yesterday.
This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.