Judge: Why I gave alleged match-fixer's ex only 2 months' jail

The lies of Guan (above) affected no one but herself and the falsehood did not hinder CPIB's probe, said District Judge Lee-Khoo.
The lies of Guan (above) affected no one but herself and the falsehood did not hinder CPIB's probe, said District Judge Lee-Khoo.ST FILE PHOTO

The lies of the former wife of alleged match-fixing czar Dan Tan Seet Eng affected no one but herself. So a judge jailed her for two months instead of the minimum four that prosecutors sought.

Whatever Guan Enmei's intention and motives were, "when she lied, the falsehood did not delay or hinder CPIB's (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau's) investigations," said District Judge Lee-Khoo Poh Choo.

The offence was also not "a sophisticated and well-planned deception", she added in written grounds for her decision, released last week.

Guan, 41, who divorced Tan in July last year, was found guilty last month of lying to an anti-graft investigator about two of Tan's laptops, which she tried to hide from the CPIB.

Guan had lied when she said in an interview on June 6, 2013, that she had left her home with only a handbag and had not taken along a paper bag containing the laptops.

But the false answers were not material, given that the CPIB had already seized the laptops from another man who had been nabbed.

Prosecutors Jasmine Kaur and Stacey Fernandez had told the court there were no precedents for offences of this nature where the offender hid the evidence and then lied to obstruct justice.

The district judge said they had "argued arduously" for a jail term of up to six months, but agreed that she was not involved in match-fixing.

However, although Judge Lee-Khoo did not hand down the prosecution's requested punishment, she had harsh words for Guan. She noted that during the trial Guan had cast "baseless aspersions" on the integrity of CPIB officers, insinuating in particular that the officer who had interviewed her had made a false e-diary entry.

She found her to be a savvy, knowledgeable woman of strong will and character, and with a mind of her own. She said Guan's "sharp retorts" when cross-examined during the trial reflected her character.

The judge added that Guan lied when she claimed that she did not know Tan was being probed for international match-fixing, among other things.

Guan's lawyer Foo Cheow Ming had said in mitigation that she had shown remorse by apologising to the CPIB in writing in May last year. But the judge pointed out that there was no mention of what lies she was apologising for, discounting Guan's claim that she had apologised for lying that she had taken a taxi to the CPIB when she had, in fact, been driven there in a limousine. At best, Guan's letter of apology showed that she was not truthful, said the judge.

She said the offence could not be swept aside as a minor offence and that Guan's blatant disregard and disrespect justified a jail term.

"The accused must know the enormity of this international match-fixing saga and the effect on Singapore's repute," she said.

Prosecutors are appealing against the sentence while Guan is appealing against the conviction and sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Judge: Why I gave alleged match-fixer's ex only 2 months' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe