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Ex-MFA protocol chief Lim Cheng Hoe sentenced to 15 months' jail for cheating

Published on Feb 20, 2014 2:53 PM
 
Former Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protocol chief Lim Cheng Hoe, 61, was sentenced to 15 months' jail on Thursday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Former Ministry of Foreign Affairs protocol chief Lim Cheng Hoe, 61, was sentenced to 15 months' jail on Thursday.

The public service veteran at the heart of the pineapple tarts fraud case had earlier pleaded guilty to having pilfered $88,997 of taxpayers' money, mostly on thousands of boxes of tarts he claimed he had bought but never did.

Prosecution had sought an 18-month jail term, but Lim's lawyer Philip Fong argued that a prison term of between eight and 10 months and a fine was enough. Lim fully paid back the money, and he did not benefit personally. Lim made the false claims only to cut through bureaucratic red tape, Mr Fong said in mitigation.

When asked how he felt before the sentencing, Lim told The Straits Times outside the courtroom: "Just get it over and done with." Lim starts serving his sentence on Thursday.