CAG chair Liew Mun Leong's maid given discharge amounting to acquittal over final charge

Parti Liyani (right) and her lawyer Anil Balchandani before the State Courts on 8 September 2020. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/Wan Ting Koh)
Parti Liyani (right) and her lawyer Anil Balchandani before the State Courts on 8 September 2020. (PHOTO: Wan Ting Koh/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE - Recently acquitted of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family, ex-domestic helper Parti Liyani was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on Tuesday (8 September) for her fifth and final charge of possessing stolen items.

Appearing in the State Courts with her pro-bono lawyer Anil Balchandani, the 46-year-old Indonesian was given an acquittal for possessing 18 items – suspected of being fraudulently obtained – on 4 December 2016 at Changi Airport upon her return to Singapore.

These items include six EZ-link cards, three branded wallets of unknown value and jewellery.

District Judge Eddy Tham granted Parti the acquittal, which means that she will no longer be prosecuted for the charge. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the court may grant the discharge if it finds that there is no evidence to satisfy each and every element of the charge or that the charge is groundless.

Parti was first accused in 2016 of stealing more than $50,000 items from the Liew household. She was then convicted and sentenced to 26 months’ jail by the State Courts. She appealed and was acquitted by a High Court judge last Friday. Justice Chan Seng Onn found that the Liew family could have had “improper motive” in filing a police report against their maid.

Parti had said she wanted to file a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for being made to work outside of Liew’s house at Chancery Lane. She claimed she was made to work at the home of Liew’s son Karl – also along Chancery Lane – and Karl’s office.

According to Justice Chan’s findings on Friday, “The Liew family followed up with a police report to ensure her return would be prevented. In my view, the Liew family might not have made a police report had Parti not made her express threat on 28 October 2016 to report the matter to MOM.”

TODAY reported that a fundraising campaign for Parti raised its target $28,000 in a day and that the domestic helper intends to start a food business in her home country.

Case background

Parti had been employed by the Liew family for over nine years when she was dismissed on 28 October 2016, with Karl and two representatives from her employment agency giving her two hours to pack before she was to be sent back to her home country. With the aid of the family’s two drivers, Parti then packed her belongings into three jumbo boxes which she requested that Karl send to her address in Indonesia.

The items included a DVD player valued at $1,000, two Longchamp bags worth $400, a Gerald Genta watch worth $10,000, two white iPhone 4 smartphones with accessories valued at $2,056, 115 pieces of clothing valued at $150 each, and a $500 blanket.

A day after Parti left however, the family decided to open the boxes and found what they claimed to be their belongings within it. Karl and his father filed a police report on 30 October 2016.

On 2 December 2016, Parti returned to Singapore and was arrested at the airport, where she was found in possession of more items that allegedly belonged to the Liew family.

Parti appealed the conviction and sentencing in the High Court. The defence argued that Parti had bought some items; some items were given to her and some items she found after they were discarded; and that the rest of the items were not packed by her.

Following Justice Chan’s judgment, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, MOM and the police said they would be studying the findings to assess if further action have to be taken.

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