Woman escapes jail over false bribery claims

$10k fine instead for alleging that two men tried to bribe judge

Koh Yew Choo made the false allegations of bribery in a letter to the Home Affairs Ministry.
Koh Yew Choo made the false allegations of bribery in a letter to the Home Affairs Ministry.

A woman, who caused her married boyfriend to give false information that an accused person and his lawyer were offering bribes to a judge, had her six-week jail term reduced on appeal to a $10,000 fine yesterday.

Koh Yew Choo, 47, made the allegations in a letter addressed to the permanent secretary for the Home Affairs Ministry in February 2009.

She typed the letter but it was signed by Ng Boon Tin, 63, her boyfriend of 30 years and with whom she has two children.

In the letter, she claimed to have "insider information" that Mr Wong Kee Yock and his lawyer offered a bribe to a judge to get a fine instead of a jail term.

Mr Wong, the last of three partners of a food court business charged with tax evasion, was jailed six months in September 2009.

The ministry referred the letter to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Questioned by the CPIB, Koh apologised for the "mistake". She said her basis for the allegation was a conversation she overheard between Mr Wong and his lawyer.

Koh was sentenced to six weeks' jail last August, after contesting the charge in an eight-day trial.

District judge Lim Keng Yeow said the evidence showed that Koh was motivated by "malice and even vengefulness" - there was animosity between her and Mr Wong, with whom she had a business dispute. He said her allegations were serious and intended to trigger investigations against two innocent people.

Koh was out on bail pending her appeal against conviction and sentence.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Amardeep Singh argued that the conversation alleged by Koh could not have taken place because Mr Wong did not know until 10 days later that he would be charged with tax offences.

Justice Chan Seng Onn dismissed Koh's appeal against conviction. However, he accepted arguments by Koh's lawyer Melanie Ho who asked for a fine, as a jail term was manifestly excessive because the gravity of Koh's offence was on a lower scale.