Man jailed 40 months over PIC scam

A businessman who tried to hamper investigations into a $13.6 million Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scam involving multiple people and more than 200 entities was yesterday sentenced to 40 months' jail for obstruction of justice.

The PIC scheme grants cash payouts and bonuses to businesses to spur productivity.

The sentence imposed on Lim Chit Foo, 35, was the highest handed down for obstruction of justice offences.

Lim was found guilty last September of instigating four others, including TV host Tom Lee Teng, to give false information to Commercial Affairs Department investigators.

Lim instigated his employees Stephanie Tan Mui Shan, Maurice Tan Wei Qiang and Wong Kwong Weng to lie to investigators and shift the blame to Chinese national Wu Hai Jun, to deflect investigations from focusing on him.

He also instigated Mr Lee, who was his business partner, to falsely inform investigators that Mr Lee had bought and seen software used by the company Micbo Remix Jay (MRJ), to mask his own involvement in a PIC application made by the company.

Lim's role was to handle government-related issues, including Ministry of Manpower, CPF and tax applications. Mr Lee gave Lim his SingPass details to submit forms for government-related issues as he was mostly overseas for his show business engagements.

 
 

In 2013, Lim told Mr Lee PIC applications could be made for expenses incurred on purchases made by the company, and a portion of such expenses would be paid back as a rebate under the PIC scheme.

Mr Lee was aware of PIC applications made in 2013 and 2014, because he signed the application forms.

In 2015, the two had plans to open a standalone outlet to promote products under the MRJ brand. Lim suggested that another company be set up.

Mr Lee agreed and incorporated MRJ. Although the company did not operate any business, PIC applications were made for software purportedly bought and used by MRJ.

Separately, Lim has been charged with multiple offences, involving 25 for allegedly cheating the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore out of $1.3 million through the submission of false PIC applications. These are pending.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'Man jailed 40 months over PIC scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe