Singapore Ex-Civil Defense Chief Convicted of Corruption

Singapore’s former civil defense chief Peter Lim was found guilty of trading contracts for sex by a district judge in the city state.

Lim was accused of obtaining oral sex in May 2010 from the general manager of Nimrod Engineering Pte, who was seeking contracts with the defense agency.

“There was corrupt element and guilty knowledge,” Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said in delivering the verdict in a Singapore subordinate court today. “He had become beholden to her after the oral sex.”

The verdict follows Singapore’s former drug enforcement agency chief Ng Boon Gay’s Feb. 14 acquittal on similar charges. Hamidul Haq, Lim’s lawyer, had argued that the sexual encounter didn’t influence his decisions in awarding business contracts.

Haq said today he will study the judgment before deciding whether to appeal. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 7.

Lim, 52, and Ng were Singapore’s most senior officials accused of corruption since 1995. They were fired last year. Tey Tsun Hang was fired May 28 from the National University of Singapore as an associate professor of law after he was convicted of abusing his position by having sex with a student and taking gifts from her.

Prosecutors argued that to excuse Lim’s behavior as “mere infidelity” would severely compromise Singapore’s longstanding zero tolerance of corruption. Under Singapore’s anti-graft laws, civil servants are presumed guilty of corruption if they receive favors, sexual or otherwise, from someone seeking business with the government and must prove their innocence, prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng said during the trial.

Nine other charges against Lim involving two other women are scheduled to be dealt with at a later stage.

The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Peter Benedict Lim Sin Pang. DAC2106-115/2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.

(Corrects headline to add dropped word in title.)
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