SINGAPORE - National Parks Board (NParks) assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon has been convicted of lying to auditors in 2012 over a $57,200 Brompton bicycles deal. However, the 42-year-old was cleared in a district court of instigating the director of firm Bikehop, which bid successfully for the contract, to lie as well.
Lim had initially told National Development Ministry staff in July 2012 that he only met Bikehop director Lawrence Lim Chun How in March 2012. But the two had actually met months earlier at a night cycling event. Lim tipped the bike supplier off about the impending tender.
In a decision delivered on Thursday, District Judge Marvin Bay said Lim had given "incongruous and ambiguous" answers to the auditors when asked to confirm this. These had given them the impression that the two men had no prior personal relationship, the judge found.
During the trial, Lim had opted to take the stand to give his side of the story, but later decided to remain silent. "Lim's defence would have benefitted from an explanation of his responses before the audit panel," the judge added.
As for the charge of instigation, Judge Bay said it would be "unsafe" to convict Lim based on a phone call he made to Mr Lawrence Lim, asking him to try not to tell anyone about the relationship. Mr Lawrence Lim had a "mind of his own" and had been more concerned with maintaining consistency with Bernard Lim's lie than slavishly following his initial exhortation, the judge said.
Bernard Lim is expected to be sentenced on June 10. He could be jailed up to a year and fined up to $5,000.