SINGAPORE: The trial of former chief of the Singapore Table Tennis Association, Choo Wee Khiang, continued on Tuesday.
The court heard that a former teacher of Fuhua Secondary School had promised a former table tennis coach "moonlighting" at the school that he would be paid.
The testimony came from the school’s former principal, Ong Kian Choon.
Choo is accused of conspiring with a former manager, Koh Li Ping, to secure payment of S$8,400 for coach Luo Jie, who "moonlighted" at Fuhua Secondary School between 2001 to 2003.
58—year—old Choo, a former Member of Parliament, faces one count of criminal breach of trust apparently committed in 2005, during his tenure at STTA as president.
Koh, 44, is accused of abetting Choo.
The court heard in 2001, Mr Ong was informed by the head of Physical Education and Co—curricular Activity, Eikman Teo Hoe Aik, that Mr Luo was training the school’s table tennis team.
Mr Teo sought permission twice to pay Mr Luo but the requests were denied as Mr Luo was on work permit.
This meant Mr Luo was not in a position to sign a formal contract with the school and so the school would not be able to pay him.
In late August in 2003, Koh called Mr Ong and told him the school owed Mr Luo money.
Koh had said a teacher promised Mr Luo that he would be paid.
Mr Ong said the person who made the promise might have been "Ms Chan", who was an English teacher at the school then.
The former principal said he initiated a meeting to clarify that the school had no intention of cheating Mr Luo.
At the meeting, Mr Ong explained the circumstances to Choo, who said he will deal with the matter internally.
Choo then suggested a programme for STTA to provide training to the school.
When prosecution asked if the suggestion was related to the issue of paying Mr Luo, Mr Ong said he thought they were two separate matters.
Also at the meeting was STTA’s then—general manager, Wong Hui Leng.
Ms Wong, now the STTA’s chief executive officer, had testified last month that Choo had adopted an intimidating tone when he asked Mr Ong how the payment matter could be resolved.
She said Choo mentioned he knew Mr Ong was retiring and that this matter could affect the principal’s retirement. Ms Wong said Mr Ong was silent when he heard this.
She added that Choo then came up with a proposal for STTA to offer consultancy and training services to the school, which Fuhua will pay for. The court also heard that Choo had described this as a "win—win—situation".
But Mr Ong said he did not recall feeling intimidated by Choo at the meeting.
The 64—year—old added that he did remember Choo making a remark about a "win—win—situation".
Earlier, the prosecution re—examined its sixth witness, Soon Min Sin, who was STTA’s former vice—president.
On Monday, Mr Soon said he spoke to Ms Wong about the evidence she gave in court as the prosecution’s third witness.
This prompted Choo’s lawyer, K Muralidharan Pillai, to charge that Mr Soon’s testimony on Monday depended on what Ms Wong told him and that the evidence is unreliable.
On Tuesday, Mr Soon said Ms Wong told him that she was not allowed to discuss the evidence so he asked her for facts like which year he was the honorary secretary of STTA, and when he became the vice president.
When asked if he bears any grudge against Choo or Koh, Mr Soon said that he does not.
The trial continues.
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