Defence counsel of former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay applied for the impeachment of the credibility of prosecution witness Cecilia Sue Siew Nang in court on Monday.
In the fifth day of the trial of Ng, who stands accused of sex-related corruption, senior counsel Tan Chee Meng noted inconsistencies in Sue’s testimony and her statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
There were two applications made by Tan: One was based on inconsistencies in Sue's statements on whether Ng had in her opinion "influenced" the award of an IT project handled by her. Another was based on inconsistencies in the time period Sue claimed Ng had told her about CNB's remaining budget.
For the first application, Tan observed that Sue had recorded in a CPIB statement on 25 April 2012 that Ng works based on his team’s recommendations, and that it was "not possible for him to influence the results of the tender." This, she said, was told by Ng to her over a phone call.
However, in the same statement, she added that she did not believe what he had told her because she knew from their conversations that part of his scope of work would entail approving all budgets concerning CNB.
She told CPIB then that Ng had not did or said anything to give her that impression (that he could influence budget approvals), but that it was "his designation that gave me the impression of authority."
Yet, Sue explained in court Monday that what she meant in that statement was that Ng did not help her in any projects but given his position as head of the department he would be able to influence the award of the project.
She added, "I don't know whether he influenced at the end of the day but I'm just doing sales...that's where I'm coming from."
Pertaining to the second application, Tan noted that Sue claimed in court last week that she learnt from Paul Chew of CNB's IT department that the agency's budget for a project her company was vying for was $320,000. This conversation, she said, was after she had asked the accused in early January 2011 how much leftover budget CNB had.
Under questioning by Tan on Monday, Sue said that she thought she spoke to Chew in end-2010.
Tan noted that it would have been impossible Ng, who only joined CNB in the start of 2011, could have revealed CNB's leftover budget to Sue if, as the witness claimed, her conversation with Chew happened after she had asked Ng about the budget.
During the defence's cross-examination of Sue, she said that she had asked for no promises in terms of business approvals from Ng.
She reiterated that the reason she still met up with him on the dates included in Ng's four charges was because she still wanted to maintain a "cordial relationship" and "not offend him".
Sue broke down at one point in court, insisting that whatever the media has written about her were "wrongful reports" that discriminated against her. She said, "Whatever they have written, my position remains the same: the accused has overstepped his position and that’s all I have to say."
Also, later in the afternoon, deputy public prosectuor Tan Ken Hwee confronted Sue and noted the differences in her CPIB statements and her court testimony.
He even requested the judge to let him question his own witness again, essentially treating her as a hostile witness. The prosecutor asserted that she and Ng had a sexual relationship, but Sue continued to refute this.
Ng is accused of corruptly obtaining sexual gratification on four occasions from Sue from June to December last year by assisting to further the business interests of her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems in dealings with CNB.
Sue claimed that on each of the four occasions she was an unwilling partner and that on several occasions, Ng had forcibly pushed her head towards his crotch in the car and there was contact between her mouth and his private parts.