MDA staff accused of corruption and forgery back in court
A staff member of the Media Development Authority (MDA) accused of corruption and forgery was back in court on Monday morning for a further mention of his case.
Lai Wai Khuen, 37, was accompanied by lawyer Lim Ghim Siew of G S Lim & Partners, who asked the court to grant the defence four weeks to put up a representation. Mr Lim told The Straits Times that he was appointed just last week. Lai had previously indicated in court last month that he intends to plead guilty. The prosecution had said that it intends to proceed with seven of the 31 charges against Lai, and take the remaining charges into consideration.
As an assistant director at MDA responsible for overseeing the evaluation of grant applications, Lai is alleged to have corruptly obtained gratification in the form of loans amounting to more than $23,000 from grant applicants 27 times, as an inducement for facilitating the grant disbursements. On another occasion he allegedly attempted to obtain a loan of $3,000 without success. He is also accused of forging documents on three occasions.
Lai, who joined MDA in October 2009, is currently suspended from duty. A pre-trial conference has been set for March 20, and Lai's bail has been extended. If convicted, Lai faces a maximum punishment of a five-year jail term and a $100,000 fine for corruption, and a four-year jail term and a fine for forgery.