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Gomez let off with a 'stern warning'

WORKERS' Party member James Gomez has been given a 'stern warning' for what police said yesterday was his use of threatening words towards a public servant.

A police statement said that after reviewing the evidence, the Public Prosecutor was satisfied that he committed the offence against a public servant who was carrying out his duties.

He could have been slapped with a fine not exceeding $5,000 or jailed for a period not exceeding a year.

'However, having considered all the circumstances of the case, Mr Gomez's willingness to cooperate with the police and the absence of any previous criminal record, the Public Prosecutor has decided that a stern warning be administered to Mr James Gomez for the offence,' the statement said.

Mr Gomez, part of the WP's team that contested and lost in Aljunied GRC, was told of the outcome yesterday when he was called to the Police Cantonment Complex in New Bridge Road.

His passport - taken last Sunday when he was stopped from leaving the country - was also returned.

Mr Gomez was at the centre of a controversy with the Elections Department over his non-submission of a minority candidate certificate.

He claimed to have submitted the form on April 24. He went to the department two days later and asked for the certificate. When told there was no record of him handing it in, he asked the officer to check again and warned of implications.

After being informed later that day that security camera footage showed he put the form into his bag - and following calls by People's Action Party leaders for him to come clean over the incident - Mr Gomez owned up and apologised on April 29.

But the department filed a complaint against him on May 6. A day later, he was stopped at the immigration counter as he was leaving the country at Changi Airport.

After the complaint, police began their probe into offences of criminal intimidation, giving false information and using threatening words and behaviour.

Mr Gomez was questioned three times. Also interviewed were department staff, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and chairman Sylvia Lim. Ang Mo Kio MP-elect Inderjit Singh and retiree Thiayagarajah Karthigesu, an assenter for PAP candidates contesting in Ang Mo Kio also spoke to investigators.

Mr Inderjit had said previously that on April 27 Mr Gomez told him that the minority certificate incident was just a 'wayang', or Malay for theatre - comments Mr Thiayagarajah also heard.

The police said statements Mr Gomez gave 'contained serious inconsistencies and discrepancies'. When taken with statements of others - including Mr Singh and Mr Thiayagarajah - it 'put into question the real truth'.

Mr Gomez said yesterday he was told of the outcome and about the stern warning he would receive.

'I was agreeable to that,' he said. He regarded the matter as closed and hopes 'to move on'.

He also said he had no plans to sue Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew who called him dishonest, and a liar.

Mr Gomez also told his employers - the Stockholm-based think-tank, International IDEA. He plans to remain here over the weekend and will arrange to return to work in Sweden next week.

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