SINGAPORE: On the second day of the sex—for—contracts trial of former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) chief Peter Lim, the court heard that he had a hand to play in the procurement process which could have led to a conflict of interest.
Lim’s lawyers have said he had no bearing on the evaluation committee’s decision to award any tender but the court on Tuesday heard that he had the final sign—off on all procurement processes of the SCDF.
This was revealed by the prosecution’s third witness — Ms Chin Lai Fong, who is the director of the SCDF’s logistics department.
She said Lim sits on both tender boards that signed—off on all recommendations for procurement put forward by the evaluation committee.
If the procurement value is less than $1 million, it goes to Tender Board A, where the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and Director of Finance, all from SCDF, would sign off.
If the procurement value is above $1 million, it goes to Tender Board B, where it will be signed off by Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, Deputy Permanent Secretary, and SCDF Commissioner.
The prosecution then pointed to a government instruction manual that drew links to the fact that Lim should have declared a conflict of interest and excused himself from the procurement process.
The manual states that where in the course of an officer’s work, the officer must declare when a decision is taken on issues in which he may have a personal interest.
Lim is accused of obtaining oral sex from Ms Pang Chor Mui, a general manager of Nimrod Engineering, at a carpark in Stadium Walk in May 2010 in exchange for advancing her company’s business interests with the SCDF.
However, his lawyers said in an opening statement on Monday that Lim and Ms Pang were close friends, and that their intimacy stemmed from a flirtatious relationship.
Still, it is the prosecution’s case that he tipped off Nimrod Engineering about the SCDF’s need for walk—through radiation portal monitors even before this information was made public.
The tender was only published on the government e—procurement website GeBiz on April 6, 2011.
The prosecution drew attention to the fact that the Lim had broached the topic of getting more of these machines on either March 16 or 17.
This was around the same time Ms Pang instructed a colleague to source for suppliers of these machines.
SCDF had been instructed to carry out radiation screening on passengers arriving into Singapore following the Japanese earthquake in 2011 that damaged a nuclear plant.
The court heard that SCDF had six deployable machines from a company called Secom, but some were faulty. Lim was concerned about this and discussions followed with his senior management as to how soon they could be fixed or if it was necessary to procure additional portals.
At the time, no decision was made on whether to call for tenders.
Lim later directed Ms Chin to contact a vendor called IPS Securex to invite the company to do a demo of its radiation portal monitor and assess its suitability for SCDF’s needs.
According to Ms Chin, the company did the demo on either March 17 or 18. However, SCDF later rejected the product as Ms Chin and colleagues from the Hazardous Materials Department said they did not find it suitable and had given Lim their reasons.
Channel NewsAsia understands IPS Securex is linked to the Singapore Radiation Centre which employed one of the three women Lim allegedly obtained sex from in exchange for contracts with the SCDF.
Nimrod Engineering employee Lee Yong Chin who took the stand earlier in the day testified that he didn’t believe the company had received any insider information.
As the company’s sales manager, he was responsible for preparing the documents to submit for the tender. He also revealed that the contract, if Nimrod had successfully bid for the tender, was worth about $400,000.
Ms Pang is expected to take the stand at a later stage.
The trial continues.
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