Liew Mun Leong steps down as chairman of CAG, Surbana Jurong after ex-maid acquitted of stealing

Mr Liew Mun Leong's former Indonesian maid Parti Liyani has been cleared of all criminal charges. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Liew Mun Leong has stepped down as chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong, days after the High Court acquitted his former maid of theft and raised questions about his motivations in lodging a police report against her.

He has also resigned from his positions as senior international business adviser at Singapore investment company Temasek and as a board member of Temasek Foundation.

In a statement on Thursday (Sept 10), Mr Liew, 74, said he had decided to bring forward his retirement from these roles.

"Those who know me will know I am passionate about the roles and missions of these organisations," he said.

"I do not wish my current situation to be a distraction to their respective boards, management and staff, amidst their many critical priorities."

He added that should it be required, he and his family would continue to provide full cooperation to both the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and the police in their review of the case.

Last Friday, Justice Chan Seng Onn acquitted the Liews' former Indonesian maid Parti Liyani of stealing from Mr Liew and his family. Ms Parti, 46, who worked for the Liew family from 2007 to 2016, had been accused of stealing over $34,000 worth of items.

A district judge found her guilty on four charges of theft and handed down a 26-month jail sentence in March last year, which she appealed before the High Court.

On Tuesday, Ms Parti was cleared of a fifth charge of fraudulent possession of property, making her free of all criminal charges.

In his judgment, Justice Chan noted that "some time prior to her termination", Ms Parti had expressed unhappiness at being made to do the additional work of cleaning the house and office of Mr Liew's son Karl.

"There is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realising her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly without giving her sufficient time for her to pack, in the hope that Parti would not use the time to make a complaint to MOM (Ministry of Manpower)," the judge noted.

When Ms Parti threatened to complain to MOM after her sudden termination, Mr Liew and his son followed up with a police report to prevent her return to Singapore to make the complaint, said the judge.

The AGC, police and MOM have said they are reviewing the handling of the case, which has also led to a public outcry against Mr Liew.

In his statement on Thursday, Mr Liew outlined why he lodged the report, saying: "When my family discovered some of our belongings in Ms Liyani's boxes, I proceeded to make a police report the same afternoon I returned from overseas - because I genuinely believed that if there were suspicions of wrongdoing, it is our civic duty to report the matter to the police and let the authorities investigate accordingly.

Ms Parti Liyani had expressed unhappiness at being made to do the additional work of cleaning the house and office of Mr Karl Liew. PHOTO: ST FILE
Ms Parti Liyani leaving the State Courts with her lawyer Anil Balchandani on Sept 8, after she was cleared of a fifth charge of fraudulent possession of property. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

"The police conducted their investigations. Ms Liyani was subsequently arrested by the police, and later, charged by the Public Prosecutor," he added.

"Throughout the investigations and trial, my family members and I cooperated fully with the police and gave statements and evidence when required.

"The High Court has made its decision. I have faith in our legal system and respect the decision of the High Court," he said.

Mr Liew added that should it be required, he stood ready to assist or advise - without compensation and in any way appropriate, given the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19 - the organisations he was stepping down from.

Read more: Timeline of events leading to former maid Parti Liyani's acquittal in theft trial

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