Singapore jails ex-top civil servant in sex-for-favours case

A former senior Singapore civil servant was jailed for six months on Thursday for receiving oral sex from a female executive of a supplier company in return for business favours.

Peter Lim, former chief of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), had tarnished the reputation of the city-state's public service by engaging in corrupt behaviour, district judge Hamidah Ibrahim ruled.

The judge rejected defence pleas for Lim to be given a stiff fine or a short custodial sentence and said "an uncompromising stance must be taken against all corruption offenders regardless of their standing".

"The rigorous and relentless upholding of exacting ethical standards is the price for Singapore's successful management of corruption," the judge added.

She also highlighted Lim's position as the highest-ranking officer in Singapore's emergency response agency and the damage done to the public service.

"I found it totally unacceptable that instead of upholding the trust reposed in him, the accused had engaged in corrupt behaviour that brought disrepute to the high office he held," the judge said.

"With every public servant's fall from grace, the confidence in the public service is affected, and that is a fact which I could not ignore."

Defence lawyer Hamidul Haq filed an appeal and Lim was granted bail of Sg$15,000 ($11,913).

The court heard that Lim had demanded and received oral sex from the 49-year-old general manager of Nimrod Engineering, which had business dealings with the SCDF.

Months after the sexual encounter, Lim tipped off the woman about the SCDF's need for equipment used to detect radiation. Nimrod took part in the tender with a "significant advantage", the judge said.

The judge also said she saw no merit in the defence's argument that the case was unique because it involved oral sex and not money.

"The form which corrupt gratification takes has no bearing on the severity of the corrupt act, especially in the public sector," she said.

Lim looked distressed, closing his eyes and leaning forward as the judge read her grounds for sentencing.

He had been found guilty on May 31 and returned to court Thursday for the sentencing.

Seven other sex-for-favours charges against Lim involving two other women were taken into consideration. Two other charges were withdrawn.

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