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Former Singaporean official denies sex-for-contract charge

Peter Lim, accused of obtaining oral sex in a car park in May 2010 from the general manager of Nimrod Engineering, is not corrupt, his lawyer Hamidul Haq said at the start of his trial

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 4:21am
 

Singapore's former civil defence chief, accused by prosecutors of trading contracts for sex, did not 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, is not corrupt, his lawyer Hamidul Haq said at the start of his trial.

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

But state prosecutors said the trial "involves a high-ranking civil servant who abused his official position and corruptly obtained gratification from a general manager of a company which was a vendor to the organisation" he led. The contractor feared she would "jeopardise" her company's "existing good relations" with the civil defence force "if she did not give in to his request for oral sex", they said in an opening statement given to the media.

Prosecutors said Lim had the authority to give final approval to contracts worth up to S$1 million (HK$6.2 million).

To excuse such behaviour as mere 'infidelity' would severely compromise our long-standing zero tolerance of corruption

They alleged that Lim called Nimrod's manager after their sexual encounter to ask about the supply of radiation monitoring equipment even before the civil defence force issued a public tender. With information provided by Lim, Nimrod sourced suppliers and submitted a bid, the prosecutors alleged without stating if Nimrod won the contract.

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 last week in a similar case.

"To excuse such behaviour as mere 'infidelity' would severely compromise our long-standing zero tolerance of corruption," Tan said. Under Singapore's anti-graft laws, civil servants are presumed guilty of corruption if they receive favours, sexual or otherwise, with someone seeking business with the government and must prove their innocence, the prosecutor said.

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