Former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay on Tuesday accused a government investigator of threatening him with embarrassing media publicity if he did not plead guilty to corruption charges.
Taking the stand for a second day at his corruption trial on Tuesday, Ng, said Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) deputy director Teng Khee Fatt, who interviewed him for statements on the sex-for-favours case, displayed "appalling and unacceptable" behaviour.
In a letter sent to the Attorney-General's Chambers by Ng's lawyers at Wong Partnership in mid-March, a week after his third interview at CPIB, Ng said Teng had exerted duress on him to persuade him to plead guilty, levelling threats to drag members of his family "through the mud".
Ng said he was already undergoing immense stress from media scrutiny in the wake of the revelation of the ongoing CPIB investigation, coupled with the passing of his father less than a fortnight before his third interview at CPIB on 9 March.
Teng, however, "capitalised on the culmination of all these events and the pressure of the high profile ongoing investigations to exert duress on Mr Ng so that he will be persuaded to take a certain course in respect of the corruption charges", he said.
Ng's complaint was dismissed about a month and a half later by the AGC, which responded in writing that it had evaluated the situation and were "satisfied" that his complaint was unfounded.
'We wanted to keep our affairs secret'
Earlier Tuesday morning, Ng was questioned further about his feelings during his relationship with former IT sales manager Cecilia Sue.
Still in cross-examination with defence counsel Tan Chee Meng, Ng said Sue frequently asked him if he loved her and how much, ranked on a scale from one to 10.
"Most of the time I said 6, 7," he said.
He also added that at one point Sue did ask him if he would ever leave his wife to be with her.
"She said that had we known each other earlier, maybe we could have been together," he said.
Ng was later cross-examined by the prosecution throughout the afternoon, tackling questions about the contracts he approved, more about his relationship with Sue and a business trip that he took to Macau and Hong Kong.
When asked by lead deputy public prosecutor Tan Ken Hwee, Ng explained why the majority of his sexual encounters -- all but two -- with Sue took place in a parked car.
"We wanted to keep our affairs secret, we didn't want people to know," he said in court. "So I can't be bringing her, for example, to, say, a hotel room -- that would be too obvious." Asked further by DPP Tan why he never brought her to a hotel room, he said it was not possible because they did not want their affair to be known.
"We were happy with our intimacy in the car," he added.
Active vs. perceived conflict of interest
He was also questioned by both sides about a number of contracts for tenders and business agreements that he had signed off against, maintaining that he was not aware that any of Sue's former employers were involved in the documents he had approved.
Attention was honed in on two contracts in particular: one involving the SAN-virtualisation system and the other featuring the Storage Resource Management System (SRMS), both of which were eventually provided by Hitachi Data Systems, where Sue was employed at the time.
Ng initially testified on Tuesday morning that he had no awareness that Hitachi was in any way involved in the first tender until it was granted to IT firm NCS Private Limited. When Tan pointed out to him that Hitachi was in fact named in documents pertaining to the tender, Ng said he did not realise that the initials used to refer to the company, HDS, stood for Hitachi Data Systems.
Asked about whether he felt that his relationship with Sue resulted in a conflict of interest in these two instances, Ng said that because Sue was working for Hitachi, which was a sub-contractor in the two deals, the conflict that could have arisen was a "perceived" one instead of an "active" one, that might have existed if Hitachi was one of the main bidders or the main contractor.
"If the person is a sub-contractor... there would be no conflict, but it could give rise to the perception of conflict," he said. "On hindsight, there could have been perceived conflict, (and) to err on the side of caution, I probably would have declared (the perceived conflict) and withdrawn myself from the procurement process."
He also said that he only came to know of Hitachi's involvement in the SAN-virtualisation (SAN-V) project after the contract had been awarded. Asked further about a conversation that Sue said she had with him where she said she mentioned the SAN-V system, Ng said he could not recall the conversation she spoke of, and therefore could not confirm it.
His cross-examination continues on Wednesday morning.