NParks officer 'wanted to come clean' about his friendship with bike supplier

NParks assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon leaving the Subordinate Courts on Aug 29, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
NParks assistant director Bernard Lim Yong Soon leaving the Subordinate Courts on Aug 29, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The National Parks Board (NParks) officer who oversaw the purchase of 26 Brompton bicycles from supplier Bikehop had never insisted that its director should lie to NParks and the Ministry of National Development (MND) about their friendship, defence counsel claimed on Wednesday.

Bernard Lim Yong Soon, 42, is accused of lying to MND auditors in July 2012 that the two did not know each other when Bikehop made a $57,200 bid earlier that year to supply the foldable bikes. He is also accused of instigating the firm's director, Mr Lawrence Lim Chun How, to do the same.

Cross-examining Mr Lawrence Lim on the second day of Lim's trial, defence lawyer Lawrence Ang said his client had never sought promises from Mr Lim to help cover up their relationship from auditors. Mr Ang told a district court that his client only "floated the idea" that Mr Lawrence Lim help out, but the men had not made an agreement on this. After the matter came under public scrutiny following newspaper reports, the lawyer added, the accused had also told Mr Lawrence Lim and a few others during a meeting that he wanted to come clean about the relationship to his superiors - but needed time to plan how to go about it.

Mr Lawrence Lim agreed to all of this. But he disagreed when the lawyer claimed Lim had not known the Bikehop director had met separately with MND over the matter, prior to him telling the group that he wanted to confess. Mr Lawrence Lim told the court: "He should have known about it. I did mention I needed to e-mail MND on our relationship."

Mr Lawrence Lim had testified on Tuesday that the two men met some three months before the Government tender was made public in January 2012, and that Lim had tipped him off about the procurement.

If convicted of lying to public servants, Lim faces a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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