Prosecution attacks credibility of Ng Boon Gay as witness

Ex-Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay arriving at the Subordinate Courts with his wife. (Yahoo! photo)

State prosecutors on Thursday sought to impeach former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay as a credible witness, citing seven separate discrepancies between his testimonies in court and his statements made to investigating officers.

This means that District Judge Siva Shanmugam will need to decide which parts of Ng's evidence to take into account for his summary judgement at the end of the case.

In the afternoon of Ng's fourth day on the stand, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Ken Hwee successfully applied to call into question the 46-year-old's testimony in court, compared side-by-side with statements from three separate recorded interviews he sat down to at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

These discrepancies touched on Ng's knowledge of former IT sales manager Cecilia Sue's previous employer Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)'s involvement in projects undertaken by CNB, conversations he had with Sue about IT products that CNB ended up acquiring, as well as certain details on his alleged sexual relationship with Sue.

Two of them hinged on two separate conversations Ng had with Sue about two IT products -- one was the Storage Resource Management System (SRMS), while the other was a ranking system developed by Oracle Corporation -- Sue's last employer -- known as Oracle Policy Automation (OPA).

With regard to Ng's first conversation with Sue about the SRMS over a dinner at Keppel Marina, Ng testified that Sue had brought it up in general conversation, and not with the intention of telling him specifically about the product.

DPP Tan took issue with this, however, saying it contradicted what he told CPIB deputy director Teng Khee Fatt in his first recorded statement, which "indicates an understanding of the software (and that it was) discussed in the context of software of interest to CNB, so it was not just a general discussion".

Turning to Ng's and Sue's conversation on the OPA, Ng testified in court that Sue had asked for his views on the usefulness of the OPA ranking system in general, as compared to his recorded statements to the CPIB investigating officer that implied that Sue had proposed a business opportunity to him, in his capacity as director of the CNB.

A further two conflicts between Ng's testimony in court and what he said in CPIB statements stemmed from his knowledge of Sue's former employer Hitachi Data Systems' involvement as a subcontractor in the SAN-virtualisation project that CNB undertook with main contractor NCS Private Limited.

In Ng's initial statements to CPIB's Teng, he said, "I did not know NCS Private Limited had subsequently subcontracted the job to Hitachi Data Systems Private Limited," and further, "I am not aware whether Hitachi had been appointed as subcontractor", alongside "I do not know that NCS Private Limited is a business partner of Hitachi Data Systems Private Limited", among other statements along a similar line.

Testifying in court earlier this week, however, Ng said that he did find out about the link after the SAN-V contract was awarded, having deduced this from a casual conversation he had with Sue over a meal where she shared about a number of deals she closed, one of which was a deal with NCS and CNB.

He later explained this discrepancy by saying that he was referring to his lack of awareness about Hitachi's involvement in the project at the time that he signed approval for the contracts in March last year.

Ng also found himself having to explain statements he made to the CPIB about Sue's personal involvement with the two CNB projects involving the SAN-V and the SRMS systems.

Back then, he said, among other statements along the same line, "I never declared my intimate relationship with her because I do not know whether she had any project with CNB or CID."

To this, Ng said he was "probably thinking about whether she had any direct projects with CNB or CID", adding that he was not sure of the context of his frame of mind when he made those statements.

Another three discrepancies that were identified related directly to Ng's alleged relationship with Sue -- two had to do with his description of his sexual relationship with her, about whether they were "part-time lovers" and not regular sex partners or involved in a three-year relationship that involved "routine" sexual intimacy, as well as whether or not she enjoyed a particular session of oral sex with him.

The third centred on one specific encounter the pair had after dinner at the Scarlet Hotel in August 2010, where the prosecution took issue with him not being able to remember whether Sue had performed oral sex on him or not, compared with his testimony that she did in fact do so, on 26 August that year.

'Ng fabricated additional sexual encounters'

Earlier on Thursday, state prosecutors accused Ng of fabricating the additional sexual encounters he previously said he had with Sue.

On Monday, Ng said he and Sue were in an "ongoing intimate relationship" from the start of 2009 to December last year, and refuted Sue's statements to officers at CPIB that their sexual relations were on a break between 26 August 2010 and June last year.

Ng was questioned about three separate incidents: his alleged first tryst with Sue at a car park in East Coast Park, an incident that occurred at a secluded spot near Dempsey Road, and another encounter along East Coast Parkway after Ng picked Sue up from the airport when she returned from a business trip.

When questioned, Ng reiterated his belief that "as far as (he) could recall, East Coast Park was the first time". Pressed further about his encounters with her at Dempsey and East Coast Parkway, Ng said he remembered the Dempsey encounter because it was a weekend afternoon and the only time they had gone there, and related in detail his conversation with Sue after she returned from her trip in the U.S.

DPP Tan later raised Sue's pregnancy scare after their sole instance of sexual intercourse, asking Ng why he did not take greater efforts to ascertain when exactly it occurred. In the process, he also listed other ways apart from checking his Great World City service apartment rental receipt to verify when it happened.

Responding to his queries, Ng explained that he was not only unable to locate the rental documents, but was at the same time grieving the loss of his mother. He did share, however, that Sue was so anxious to find out whether or not her daughter was his that she even asked him what his blood group was after she was born.

Teng's diary account inaccurate: Ng

Ng was later questioned further about his complaint against CPIB deputy director Teng Khee Fatt, who recorded his statements at the bureau headquarters over three occasions.

Going through Teng's station diary, which gave an account of the events that transpired on 9 March, the third time Ng was questioned at CPIB, Ng disagreed with Teng's version of events on a number of accounts.

Ng first said that despite Teng writing that he "could not think of any reason why he (Ng) said he was not corrupt", Ng maintained that he said he had already given his reasons to explain why he was not.

More crucially, Teng had written in his station diary that it was Ng who first said "it would go crazy" if the case went to court and his wife found out about it. Teng also wrote that Ng asked if the names of the girls involved would be redacted should he plead guilty, and that Teng had offered for Ng's case to be heard in-camera, subject to consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Ng denied ever saying "it would go crazy", however, adding that Teng included the possibility of the case being heard in-camera and the girls' names being redacted as part of his plea bargain.

"He said he would arrange for the case to be heard in-camera and redact the names," said Ng. "He didn't promise that it would happen; he said if I pleaded guilty, this is what he would do, (and) there are instances where such things can be arranged."

The prosecution concludes its cross-examination with Ng on Friday.

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