Agencies looking into case of ex-maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chief in light of judge's comments

Ms Parti Liyani and her lawyer Anil Balchandani leaving the Supreme Court building after she was acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group Liew Mun Leong and his family, on Sept 4, 2020. PHOTO: HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION ECONOMICS

SINGAPORE - Both the Ministry of Manpower and the police are looking into the case of a former domestic worker acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family.

In a statement on Sunday (Sept 6), MOM said that it is in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) as to whether further action, if any, ought to be taken following comments by the judge, Justice Chan Seng Onn.

The AGC said earlier on Sunday that it would be studying Justice Chan's judgment. "His findings do raise questions which warrant further investigations," the AGC said.

The police also said on Sunday night that they would be looking into several observations of police investigations made by Justice Chan in his 100-page judgment on the case.

While the statement by police did not elaborate on what these observations were, Justice Chan had found that there was a break in the chain of custody of evidence, creating reasonable doubt as to whether some of the allegedly stolen items discovered by the family were accurately documented by the photographs taken by the police some five weeks later.

During this period, the family were told by the police that they were free to use the items. They took and put back items into the boxes but it is not clear if the items that were put back were the same ones removed earlier.

Justice Chan also found that two statements were taken from the former maid, Ms Parti Liyani, without an interpreter.

"Several observations about police's investigations have been raised," said the police in its statement. "The police are looking into them."

Meanwhile, MOM also explained how it had dealt with Ms Parti's complaint that she had been asked to work at the home and office of Mr Liew's son.

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In October 2017, Ms Parti made a report of illegal deployment by Mr Liew's wife to their son Mr Karl Liew's residence between September and October 2016, and to his office around 2012 and 2013.

MOM investigated her complaint and found that this had happened on different occasions, it said.

"At the conclusion of the investigation in May 2018, the Ministry issued a caution to Mrs Liew and an advisory to Mr Karl Liew. The issuing of a caution, on these facts, is consistent with the approach taken in other similar cases," it said.

Ms Parti, 46, who worked for the Liew family from 2007 to 2016, was accused of stealing over $34,000 worth of items from them.

After a trial, she was found guilty on four counts of theft and sentenced to two years and two months' jail in March last year.

She appealed to the High Court against her conviction and sentence, and was acquitted last Friday.

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