Man who allegedly cheated Iras of over $1 million found guilty of perverting justice

35-year-old Lim Chit Foo allegedly made multiple fraudulent Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme applications to cheat the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore of more than $1 million.
35-year-old Lim Chit Foo allegedly made multiple fraudulent Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme applications to cheat the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore of more than $1 million.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A businessman who allegedly 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 on Friday (Sept 7).

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 and will be dealt with at a later date.

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.

Lim had attempted to intentionally pervert the course of justice by instigating Mr Lee to give false information to the police.

During the trial, Mr Lee testified that 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 that 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 that 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 that he had not submitted the application and had "no idea" how to do it.

He stopped working with Lim at the end of 2015.

The pair spoke to each other 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.

 

Mr Lee also suspected that Lim was behind the applications.

The prosecutors said that on the audio clip, Lim could be heard telling Mr Lee to inform the authorities that Mr Lee had bought software for MRJ and that he had seen people in the firm using it.

Mr Lee passed the recording to the Commercial Affairs Department on Nov 20, 2016.

The DPPs said: "Against this backdrop, the accused was clearly motivated to instigate Tom to pervert the course of justice because he knew that if it were revealed that Tom knew nothing about the software despite the MRJ application being made in his name, it would have cast clear suspicion upon the legitimacy of the MRJ application."

The other three people linked to Lim's charges are Ms Stephanie Tan Mui Shan, Mr Maurice Tan Wei Qiang and Mr Wong Kwong Weng.

The trio were working for Lim when he allegedly committed the offences.

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.