Former SCDF chief Peter Lim still has case to answer even though key witness Pang Chor Mui contradicts herself: Prosecution

But key witness continues to contradict herself in court

THE prosecution summed up its case against former civil defence chief Peter Lim Sin Pang yesterday, saying it had presented enough evidence to show that he had corrupt intent when he obtained oral sex from Ms Pang Chor Mui in May 2010.

But even as they said Lim had a case to answer, their key witness, Ms Pang, the former general manager of Nimrod Engineering, continued to contradict herself in court.

Ms Pang, 49, had allegedly been tipped off by Lim that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) needed radiation portal monitors before the information was made public.

On her third day on the stand yesterday, she was grilled by both sides over her use of the word "antagonise" in her statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) last year.

In those statements, she said she performed the sex act on Lim because she liked him and was afraid of antagonising him.

But when cross-examined by defence lawyer Hamidul Haq, Ms Pang said her use of the word was "not really true".

Mr Haq then asked Ms Pang to explain why she had told CPIB that she was afraid to antagonise Lim, even though he did not ask her to perform oral sex on him.

She replied: "Because when I used the word 'antagonise', I don't really mean it.

"I guess at that time I wanted to get out of the place (CPIB) and I just gave an answer."

Yet, when re-examined on this point immediately after by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sherlyn Neo, Ms Pang affirmed that her CPIB statement was the "truth".

"Correct, that was my final answer and I stick to the same statement, yes," she told DPP Neo.

This was again in contrast to her court testimony on Tuesday, when she said she had oral sex with Lim because she "liked him a lot".

Ms Pang said yesterday she was close to Lim, whom she first met in 1996, and reconnected with in 2009.

When asked by the prosecution to define their closeness, she said: "To me it's considered close but to other people, there may be nothing to it because we hardly even meet, but to me, it's the mental connection.

"The connection is there, so to me, that is considered close."

This sparked a barrage of questions from DPP Neo, who asked her if she knew which schools Lim went to, how many siblings he had and who his friends were.

Ms Pang, who said she had not met Lim's immediate family and friends or visited his home, could not answer most of the questions.

The prosecution also sought to show yesterday that Nimrod Engineering had been able to meet the May 3, 2011 deadline for the SCDF tender, because Lim gave Ms Pang word in advance.

Ms Pang told the court that she had instructed her staff to look for the radiation equipment after Lim had asked her about it on March17, 2011.

She, however, insisted that it was just a simple inquiry by Lim who did not tell her SCDF needed the equipment.

Ms Pang also denied that Lim's inquiry had any impact on Nimrod's bid, which was only submitted on the deadline day.

But DPP Neo continued to cite evidence that Ms Pang would not have had enough time to prepare for the tender without Lim's "tip-off".

The court heard that it took at least seven days for Ms Pang's staff to find a supplier and get a quotation.

Another 13 days were spent preparing the proposal after Ms Pang's company decided to go for the bid on April 20.

When asked by DPP Neo whether it would have been easier or more difficult to put together the bid without Lim's information, Ms Pang admitted: "If it's in a rush, yes, it will definitely be more difficult."

In his closing speech, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng pointed out that the defence did not dispute Ms Pang's testimony that oral sex took place between the pair on May 2, 2010.

Lim also did not disclose to the SCDF, at any point, the fact that he had obtained oral sex from the general manager of one of SCDF's vendors, added DPP Tan.

Mr Haq argued that there is no case to answer and will be handing his written submissions to the court today.

If District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim decides that Lim has a case to answer, the former SCDF chief could take the stand today.