Ex-Singapore Civil Defense Chief Denies Sex-for-Contract

Singapore’s former civil defense chief, accused by prosecutors of trading contracts for sex, didn’t influence the awarding of business, his lawyer said.

Peter Lim, accused of obtaining oral sex in a car park in May 2010 from the general manager of Nimrod Engineering Pte, isn’t corrupt, his lawyer Hamidul Haq said at the start of a trial in Singapore subordinate court.

“His only wrongdoing here is the commission of a physical encounter,” Haq said.

Lim, 52, abused his official position as a senior civil servant and placed the integrity of government procurement processes into disrepute, prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng said. The trial comes after Singapore’s former drug enforcement agency chief was acquitted Feb. 14 in a similar case. Both men were Singapore’s most senior officials accused of corruption since 1995 when they were dismissed last year.

“To excuse such behavior as mere ‘infidelity’ would severely compromise our longstanding zero tolerance of corruption,” Tan said. Under Singapore’s anti-graft laws, civil servants are presumed guilty of corruption if they receive favors, sexual or otherwise, with someone seeking business with the government and must prove their innocence, the prosecutor said.

Nine other charges against Lim involving two other women will be dealt with at a later stage, according to an e-mailed statement from the Attorney-General’s Chambers. If convicted, Lim may be jailed for as long as five years and fined as much as S$100,000 ($81,000) on each corruption charge.

Reasonable Doubt

Prosecutors failed to prove their case against Singapore’s former Central Narcotics Bureau chief beyond a reasonable doubt, district judge Siva Shanmugam said in acquitting him last week.

Singapore courts had a 96 percent conviction rate in 136 graft-related cases which concluded in 2011, according to the latest available annual report from the Corruption Practices Investigation Bureau. A former deputy chief executive of Singapore’s Public Utilities Board was jailed in 1995 for taking kickbacks.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in September there would be no cover ups of any corruption even if it embarrasses the nation. Lee said the recent cases “are not typical of the public service.”

The criminal case is Public Prosecutor v Peter Benedict Lim Sin Pang. DAC20106-115/2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.

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