Timeline: How acquitted ex-maid Parti Liyani, ex-CAG chairman’s family went from harmony to High Court fight

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.
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

Seven days ago, the High Court overturned the convictions against former maid Parti Liyani, 46, who had faced four charges of stealing about $34,000 worth of items from former corporate chief Liew Mun Leong and his family. Four days later, Ms Parti, who had worked for the Liews from 2007 to 2016, was cleared of a fifth charge of fraudulent possession of property, making her free of all criminal charges.

OCT 28, 2016

Indonesian Parti Liyani had a relatively harmonious relationship with the family, except for clashes with Mr Liew's son, Karl, over her household chores at the family's home in Chancery Lane.

Things got more heated when Mr Karl Liew moved out with his family in March 2016 to a nearby house. She was asked to go to his home to help with the chores, as well as clean his office in another location.

On Oct 28, 2016, the Liew family terminated her employment, after she had expressed unhappiness at being made to do additional work.

Given two hours to pack her belongings into three jumbo boxes, she became angry and threatened to complain to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about the illegal work deployments. She returned to Indonesia the same day, after asking Mr Karl Liew to pay for the boxes to be shipped to her.

In his judgment last Friday, Justice Chan Seng Onn said: "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."

OCT 29, 2016

The Liew family opened the boxes, checked the contents and took a 21-second video of items they had removed from the boxes. They alleged that the items belonged to members of their family.

OCT 30, 2016

While Ms Parti was back in Indonesia, Mr Liew and his son made a police report after the family allegedly found their belongings in three boxes, which Mr Karl Liew had agreed to pay to ship to her. After the report was made, the family members were told by the police they were free to use the items. They took and put back items into the boxes but it is not clear if the items were the same ones that were removed earlier.

DEC 2, 2016

Ms Parti, who was unaware of the allegations made against her, returned to Singapore to find work, but was arrested on arrival at Changi Airport. Items that allegedly belonged to the family were found on her.


DEC 3, 2016

The police visited the Liews' house with a crime scene photographer to take photos of the allegedly stolen items, but it was done about five weeks after the report was made.


Ms Parti faced four charges of theft, involving 144 items valued at about $50,000.


Ms Parti made a report to MOM about being illegally deployed to work at Mr Karl Liew's home between September and October 2016, and to his office in 2012 and 2013.

Mr Karl Liew, son of Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong, had clashed with Indonesian Parti Liyani over her household chores at the Chancery Lane family home. PHOTO: ST FILE

APRIL 23, 2018

Ms Parti claimed trial. She was accused of stealing more than $50,000 worth of valuables from the Liew family in October 2016, including a $25,000 Gerald Genta watch from Mr Karl Liew.

While out on bail, she stayed at a shelter run by migrant workers group Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics (Home). Lawyer Anil Balchandani, whom Home approached, represented her pro bono.


MAY 2018

MOM concluded its probe into her complaint and found Mr Liew's wife had deployed her to the younger Liew's home and office on different occasions. MOM issued a caution to Mrs Liew and an advisory to Mr Karl Liew.

MARCH 20, 2019

Ms Parti was found guilty on four counts of theft by District Judge Olivia Low. She was sentenced to jail for two years and two months.

She was convicted of stealing $34,000 worth of items, including the Gerald Genta watch. Mr Karl Liew claimed it was worth $25,000, but the trial judge reduced it to $10,000 based on the original guide price.

The judge said she did not see any reason for the Liews to frame the maid for theft. She added that the prosecution witnesses were "largely credible and consistent", even though they might have differed slightly on the details of their items.

Ms Parti appealed against the convictions.

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

SEPT 4, 2020

The High Court overturned the convictions. Her lawyer Anil Balchandani argued that the police report was a pre-emptive move to stop her from making a complaint against the Liews for illegal deployment.

Justice Chan Seng Onn, in his 100-page judgment, found the trial judge's conviction against her to be "unsafe". He cited the police handling of the evidence, recording of the allegedly stolen items and improper motive behind the allegations of some family members.

SEPT 6, 2020

The Attorney-General's Chambers, police and MOM said they are reviewing the handling of the case.


SEPT 8, 2020

Ms Parti was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal for the fifth charge, for fraudulent possession of property, after the prosecution dropped the charge against her. This charge is related to 18 items in her possession that are not linked to the Liews.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the authorities take very seriously Justice Chan's comments on the case, and have to find out "what happened, why it happened and then deal with it".

SEPT 10, 2020

Mr Liew steps down as chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong. He also resigns from his positions as senior international business adviser at Singapore investment company Temasek and as a board member of Temasek Foundation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2020, with the headline 'Timeline of events'. Subscribe