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Singapore Ex-Official Gets 15 Months Jail Over Expenses

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Lim Cheng Hoe, Singapore’s former protocol chief at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, was sentenced to 15 months in jail for inflating expenses over the amount of pineapple tarts and wines he bought as gifts.

His acts “have the potential to erode public confidence in the public service,” Singapore District Judge Eddy Tham said today in handing down the sentence.

Lim, 61, had pleaded guilty to 10 charges of submitting false receipts. Prosecutors had charged him with 60 counts of cheating the government of S$88,997 ($70,000) and recommended an 18-month jail term. Singapore has tightened financial controls and imposed rules on civil servants, including on casino visits, after at least six officials were charged with corruption and fraud over the past two years.

Lim oversaw ministerial and presidential trips overseas and had worked at the ministry for 38 years. He claimed to have bought over a four-year period 10,075 boxes of pineapple tarts, a common gift during the Lunar New Year, about 4 1/2 times the actual amount and also overstated the amount of wine bought.

The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Lim Cheng Hoe, DAC039357-039416/2013. Singapore Subordinate Courts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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