Sex-for-contracts trial: 6 months' jail for former SCDF chief Peter Lim

Former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) chief Peter Lim Sin Pang, who was found guilty of corruption last month, was sentenced to six months in jail on Thursday.

In sentencing Lim, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said a fine in this case "would not be appropriate as it would trivialise the severity of corruption".

Lim, 53, was convicted of one count of corruption for his sexual encounter with Ms Angie Pang Chor Mui, 49, on May 2, 2010, in exchange of furthering the business interests of her then-employer Nimrod Engineering.

But in a dramatic twist during his sentencing hearing last Friday, Lim admitted to seven other trysts with two other women - Ms Esther Goh Tok Mui and Ms Kelly Lee Wei Hoon, both in their 40s. They were working for information technology firm NCS and technology company Singapore Radiation Centre respectively, both of which were vendors of the SCDF.

Lim faced ten charges of corruption - nine of which were initially stood down to a later date when he claimed trial. The prosecution agreed to have seven of those charges, which he confessed to, taken into consideration for sentencing, and the other two withdrawn.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi had pressed for a jail term of five months. He said: "As leader of the SCDF, he was expected to lead by example. Instead he had engaged in behaviour that brought SCDF into disrepute."

But defence lawyer Hamidul Haq argued in mitigation that Lim should not be jailed and should instead be given a "hefty fine". He said the SCDF had not suffered any losses since Lim's actions did not lead to the tender being awarded to Nimrod, and SCDF's procurement system had therefore not been compromised.

Lim had also never explicitly told Ms Pang he could help her, said Mr Haq. "A lot of what happened is, to a certain extent, the impression in (Ms Pang's) mind of what (Lim) could do. It didn't come from his mouth."

The maximum punishment for each count of corruption is five years' jail and a fine of $100,000.

The hearing comes two days after the Attorney-General's Chambers decided not to appeal against the Feb 14 acquittal of former anti-narcotics chief Ng Boon Gay, who had also faced corruption charges earlier.