Public Prosecutor v Irene Koh Limbert

JudgeLuke Tan
Judgment Date20 July 2022
Neutral Citation[2022] SGDC 156
Citation[2022] SGDC 156
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
Published date27 July 2022
Docket NumberDistrict Arrest Case No 900246 of 2019 & Ors, Magistrate’s Appeal No 9090/2022/01
Plaintiff CounselMs Magdalene Huang (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselMr Wee Pan Lee and Ms Low Chang Yong
Subject MatterCriminal Law,Statutory offences,Prevention of Corruption Act
Hearing Date11 August 2020,12 August 2020,13 August 2020,13 January 2021,15 January 2021,23 August 2021,24 August 2021,25 August 2021,13 October 2021,04 April 2022,28 April 2022,06 July 2022
District Judge Luke Tan: Introduction

Irene Koh Limbert (“the accused”) was a Senior Property Executive of Newman & Goh Property Consultants Pte Ltd (“Newman & Goh”) from 6 August 2010 to 7 September 2012. Newman & Goh, in turn, was a management company which provided property and facilities management services to the Management Corporation Strata Titles (MCSTs) of various estates.

It was alleged that the accused had accepted a total sum of S$12,723 from one Ling Chun Teck Donald (“Ling”) over 11 occasions between March 2011 and November 2012, in connection with her employment at Newman & Goh. Ling ran the companies TAC Contracts Pte Ltd (“TAC”), Proseal Waterproofing Specialist and TAC Waterproofing Specialist (collectively “TAC and its related companies”), which provided waterproofing, general repairs and building maintenance services to the MCSTs that engaged Newman & Goh’s services.

The MCSTs mentioned in the charges, and the names of the relevant estates, are set out below Kew Gate (MCST No. 2246); Loyang Gardens (MCST No. 2086); Jade Mansion (MCST No. 0636); Treasure Place (MCST No. 3145); Peirce View (MCST No. 2085); Spring@Katong (MCST No. 3206): Jasmine Court (MCST No. 1102); Casa Jervois (MCST No. 1645); Lip Hing Industrial Building (MCST No. 1188); and Ching Shine Industrial Building (MCST No. 0725).

The Prosecution initially proceeded against the accused on 11 charges under section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241 (“PCA”). The contents of the charges were essentially the same, save for the amount of gratification involved, the dates of the alleged acceptance of the gratification, and the identity of the MCSTs that the accused was the agent for. As such, for easy reference, I have simply reproduced the text of the first charge, and also set out the differentiating details for the other charges in a table below.

The first charge (DAC-900246-2019 reads:

You…are charged that you, on or about the 08th day of March 2011, being an agent, to wit, a Senior Property Executive in the employ of Newman & Goh Property Consultants Pte Ltd, did corruptly accept gratification of a sum of $500 from one Ling Chun Teck Donald, a Director of TAC Contracts Pte Ltd, as a reward for showing favour to TAC Contracts Pte Ltd in relation to your principal’s affairs, to wit, for advancing business interests of TAC Contracts Pte Ltd with Newman & Goh Property Consultants Pte Ltd, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241.

The essential differentiating details of the 11 charges, originally proceeded with, are set out in the table below.

S/N DAC No. Date of the Accused’s acceptance of cash from Ling Amount accepted (in S$) Breakdown in S$ according to the MCST involved)
1 DAC-900246-2019 On or about 8 March 2011 500 500 (MCST 3206)
2 DAC-900247-2019 On or about 18 March 2011 2,981 380 (MCST 2246)
2,601 (MCST 2085)
3 DAC-900248-2019 On or about 19 May 2011 5,305 3,000 (MCST 2086)
60 (MCST 2085)
2,000 (MCST 0636)
160 (MCST 3206)
85 (MCST 3206)
4 DAC-900249-2019 On or about 23 June 2011 400 370 (MCST 2246)
30 (MCST 2085)
5 DAC-900250-2019 On or about 29 August 2011 60 60 (MCST 0636)
6 DAC-900251-2019 On or about 5 January 2012 90 90 (MCST 1188)
7 DAC-900252-2019 On or about 12 January 2012 578 578 (MCST 2085)
8 DAC-900253-2019 On or about 6 March 2012 1,114 748 (MCST 0725)
366 (MCST 2085)
9 DAC-900254-2019 On or about 27 April 2012 700 200 (MCST 1102)
500 (MCST 3206)
10 DAC-900255-2019 On or about 21 June 2012 388 150 (MCST 3145)
150 (MCST 3145)
88 (MCST 3145)
11 DAC-900256-2019 On or about 27 November 2012 607 27 (MCST 2086)
50 (MCST 1645)
200 (MCST 1645)
330 (MCST 1645)

Subsequently, the 11th charge was amended at the end of the Prosecution’s case to one under Section 5(a)(i) of the PCA. The amended 11th charge reads:

You…are charged that you, on or about 27 November 2012, in Singapore, did corruptly receive gratification of S$607 in cash from one Ling Chun Teck Donald, a Director of TAC Contracts Pte Ltd, as a reward for advancing the business interests of TAC Contracts Pte Ltd and its related companies with Management Corporation Strata Title Nos. 2086, 1645 and 1102, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5(a)(i) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241.

At the end of the trial, I convicted the accused of the following charges, some of which have been amended.

S/N DAC and Charge Number MCST Nos. Date of Offence Final amount of gratification Remarks
1 DAC-900247-2019 (2nd charge) 2246 Sometime after 18 March 2011 S$380 Charge re- amended to a reduced amount
2 DAC-900248-2019 (3rd charge) 2086, 2085, 0636 and 3206 Sometime after 19 May 2011 S$5,305 -
3 DAC-900249-2019 (4th charge) 2246 and 2085 Sometime after 23 June 2011 S$400 -
4 DAC-900250-2019 (5th charge) 0636 Sometime after 23 June 2011 S$60 -
5 DAC-900251-2019 (6th charge) 1188 Sometime after 5 January 2012 S$90
6 DAC-900253-2019 (8th charge) 0725 Sometime after 6 March 2012 S$748 Charge re- amended to a reduced amount
7 DAC-900250-2019 (9th charge) 1102 Sometime after 27 April 2012 S$200 Charge re- amended to a reduced amount
Total Gratification Sum S$7,183

As for the other four charges, I was of the view that the Prosecution had failed to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt and I acquitted the accused of the charges.

For the seven charges that I convicted the accused of, I sentenced the accused as follows.

S/N DAC and Charge Number Final amount of gratification Sentence (imprisonment) Remarks
1 DAC-900247-2019 (2nd charge) S$380 1 week Concurrent
2 DAC-900248-2019 (3rd charge) S$5,305 7 weeks Consecutive
3 DAC-900249-2019 (4th charge) S$400 1 week Concurrent
4 DAC-900250-2019 (5th charge) S$60 2 days Concurrent
5 DAC-900251-2019 (6th charge) S$90 3 days Concurrent
6 DAC-900253-2019 (8th charge) S$748 2 weeks Consecutive
7 DAC-900254-2019 (9th charge) S$200 1 week Concurrent
Global Sentence 9 weeks imprisonment

The Prosecution has since filed an appeal against the orders of acquittal in respect of DAC 900246/2019, DAC 900252/2019, DAC 900255/2019 and DAC 900256/2019, and my decision to amend three of the seven remaining charges (DAC 900247/2019, DAC900253/2019 and DAC 900254/2019). No appeal has been filed by the Defence.

For completeness, for the purposes of these Grounds of Decision, I set out below the reasons for my decisions on the amendment, conviction, acquittal, and/or sentence for the respective charges.

Summary of Evidence Prosecution’s evidence in brief

I summarise the Prosecution’s charges below. For the 1st – 10th charges under s6(a) PCA: The allegation for each charge was essentially that the accused had corruptly accepted gratification as a reward for showing favour to TAC and its related companies in relation to the affairs of her respective principals, which were the MCSTs that had engaged TAC and its related companies for jobs at their respective estates, by advancing the business interests of TAC and its related companies with the respective MCSTs. For the 11th charge under s5(a)(i) PCA: The allegation was that the accused had corruptly received gratification as a reward for advancing the business interests of TAC and its related companies with the relevant MCSTs which had engaged TAC and its related companies for jobs at their respective estates.

The Prosecution called a total of five witnesses. They were as follows: Ling Chun Teck Donald (“Ling”) – He was the director of TAC Contracts Pte Ltd (“TAC”) and the boss of the other related companies concerned in these charges. Ling was the giver of sums of money to the accused. He was called to testify in court, and the statements recorded from him by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (“CPIB”), as well as the papers that were adduced when he pleaded guilty to corresponding charges of corruption, were admitted into evidence. SSI Yap Liying Michelle (“IO Michelle”) – She was the former investigation officer (IO) for this case, and has been with CPIB for 8 years. She was in charge of the investigations against both the accused and Ling, and recorded a statement from the accused (P27) as well as statements from Ling (P26-1 to P26-7). Cheng Wee Hong @ Dennis (“Dennis Cheng”) – He is the executive director of the property and facilities management department at Newman & Goh, and the accused’s superior. Low Poh Choo (“Linda”) - She is the senior office manager overseeing the accounts department at Newman & Goh. Alvin Tan Kuan Hwee (“Alvin”) - He is an officer with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). He assisted the former IO in serving the charges to the accused, and who recorded her cautioned statements after investigations had been completed. He is also the current IO.

In essence, the Prosecution’s case1 was that from 2011 to 2012, TAC and its related companies were awarded contracts by the MCSTs of the estates under the accused’s...

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