Man guilty of perverting course of justice

A businessman who made multiple fraudulent Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme applications to cheat the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore of more than $1 million was found guilty of intentionally perverting the course of justice yesterday .

After a 30-day trial, District Judge John Ng also convicted 35-year-old Lim Chit Foo of three counts of attempting to intentionally pervert the course of justice. The Singaporean committed these offences in October and November 2016.

His other charges, including multiple counts of cheating, have been stood down for now.

The PIC scheme grants cash payouts and bonuses to businesses to spur productivity. Mediacorp host Tom Lee Teng, 35, was one of the four people linked to the charges.

Mr Lee had testified he was looking for a business partner to help him run a fashion apparel store in 2012 and his sister introduced him to Lim. Lim then suggested Mr Lee incorporate a firm known as Stage Group.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Christopher Ong, Stacey Fernandez and Victoria Ting said in their submissions: "Tom also provided the accused with Tom's SingPass details to perform submissions for government-related issues as Tom was mostly overseas due to his engagements in show business."

Around 2013, Lim told Mr Lee about the PIC scheme. Applications were made and Mr Lee signed the forms. Lim later asked Mr Lee to incorporate another firm and Micbo Remix Jay (MRJ) was formed.

The DPPs said: "Despite MRJ conducting no business at the time, MRJ's PIC application dated Nov 4, 2015, was made online, based upon a cash purchase of customer relationship management software...Tom maintained on the stand he had neither purchased nor seen software used in MRJ.There was no reason for software to be purchased for MRJ because MRJ was not carrying on any business."

Mr Lee testified he had not submitted the application and had "no idea" how to do it. He stopped working with Lim at end-2015. The pair spoke on the phone on Oct 26, 2016, and Mr Lee recorded the conversation as his name had been used to submit PIC applications that he was not aware of. On the audio clip, the prosecution said, Lim could be heard telling Mr Lee to inform the authorities that Mr Lee had bought software for MRJ. Mr Lee passed the recording to the Commercial Affairs Department on Nov 20, 2016.

Lim will be back in court for sentencing on Oct 1. Those convicted of perverting the course of justice can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2018, with the headline 'Man guilty of perverting course of justice'. Print Edition | Subscribe