Former CNB chief goes on trial on Tuesday

THE trial of Ng Boon Gay, one of two men embroiled in the most high-profile corruption cases involving public servants in nearly two decades, starts today.

Ng, former head of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), faces four counts of obtaining sex from IT executive Cecilia Sue, in exchange for assisting her companies in their bids for contracts with his organisation.

Observers said the case is likely to turn on whether the prosecution can prove the alleged trysts led to favours being doled out.

Ms Sue, 36, was either a sales manager at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), or a senior sales manager at Oracle Corporation Singapore which she joined towards the end of the year, during the alleged offences from June to December last year.

The Attorney-General's Chambers had said previously that neither firm was a direct vendor of CNB at the material time.

It is believed HDS was a sub-vendor while Oracle was a potential vendor.

Since the 46-year-old Ng was charged in court on June 12, his lawyers Tan Chee Meng and Melanie Ho of WongPartnership have repeatedly pressed the prosecution to clarify the supposed corrupt acts after the alleged trysts between their client and Ms Sue.

The lawyers also want more information on the exact "business interests" of HDS and Oracle - as stated in court documents - that were allegedly furthered.

It is understood that the lawyers have yet to receive substantiative replies from the prosecution.

Ng, a former government scholar and head of the Criminal Investigation Department, faces up to a $100,000 fine and/or five years in prison for each charge.

Along with former Singapore Civil Defence Force chief Peter Lim, 52, he was arrested and investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in separate sex-for-contracts probes.

They were suspended from their posts in January and replaced from Feb 1.

Ms Sue, who is married and believed to have been asked to leave Oracle earlier this year, is expected to be called as a witness later this week.

Other senior staff of CNB and Oracle are also expected to take the stand.

Lim, who faces 10 similar corruption charges involving three other women, is scheduled to go on trial in January.

The prosecution said last Friday it would proceed on one charge, with the remainder stood down for now.

The last time the public service was in the news for a major corruption probe was in 1995.

Then, Public Utilities Board deputy chief executive (operations) Choy Hon Tim was charged with accepting bribes totalling $13.85 million. He was jailed 14 years.

limze@sph.com.sg