Woman in sex-for-favours case breaks down in court

Cecilia Sue Siew Nang made a surprise showing on Wednesday in court. (Yahoo! photo/ Deborah Choo)

UPDATED (26 September 8pm)

Cecilia Sue, the woman at the centre of the high-profile corruption trial involving a former top Singapore civil servant, made a surprise appearance in court on Wednesday.

Heavily made-up and with her curly hair tied up, Sue strode confidently into court at about 330pm, wearing a knee-length black pencil skirt with nude pumps. The 36-year-old former IT executive was surprisingly called by the prosecution in the second day of the trial of former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay.

Speaking thoughout in a soft, muffled voice, Sue avoided making eye contact with the gallery and kept her seat turned towards the judge as she gave her gripping testimony, breaking down in tears several times as she recounted how Ng forcibly and repeatedly tried to get her to have oral sex with him.

Her unscheduled appearance made the accused and his wife visibly nervy as the atmosphere within the courtroom turned tense and taut.

During her three-hour testimony, Sue confirmed that she met Ng at a social gathering at a pub in Tanjong Pagar in 2009 when she was still with Sun Microsystems.

Ng is accused of corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from Sue by assisting to further the business interests of her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems in dealings with CNB.

Based on charge sheets, the first alleged encounter took place between June and July last year, and the second between last October and November when Sue was a sales manager of Hitachi Data Systems. The third and fourth incidents allegedly happened in December when Sue was a senior sales manager of Oracle.

Ng's defence counsel earlier objected to the appearance of Sue, arguing that the prosecution did not inform them of the move. Prosecution explained that they had difficulty scheduling witnesses.

Ng's wife, who was sitting in the first row, was seen staring intently at Sue as the latter spoke.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Sue is "clinically depressed" and has been seeking medical treatment since news of the scandal broke.

But questions of whether she was really in love with the accused also surfaced.

On the opening day of the trial of former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay on Tuesday, the court heard how Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, 36, has "not been coping well with the situation she's found herself in".

Lawyers said she has been seeing a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for the past three months due to the unprecedented publicity arising from the case.

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The former IT executive, a sales manager of Hitachi Data Systems who then moved to Oracle during the  time of the offence, is alleged to have had sex with Ng in order to win favour for contracts with CNB.

Ng's sexual trysts -- all in the form of fellatio -- with Sue occurred on four different occasions between June and December last year. At the time, both her companies had no existing relationship with CNB.

The court also heard how the pair were first introduced by a mutual friend at a pub in Tanjong Pagar in early 2009. Sue at the time had been assigned by her company to market IT products to the Ministry of Home Affairs, of which CNB was one of the agencies under her charge.

Final say in contracts

In its opening statement, the prosecution acknowledged that while Ng had at no time influenced or was directly involved in the process of awarding two separate IT contracts worth S$320,000 related to a project Sue was working on, Ng nevertheless had ultimate sign-off approval on any vendor deals worth up to S$1 million.

Prosecution lawyer Tan Ken Hwee thus claimed Ng "pressured" Sue into performing fellatio on four occasions knowing his final approval was necessary and that she had to maintain a cordial relationship with the government agencies under her purview.

In one specific instance, court documents related how one of the fellatio acts was performed on the same day CNB had officially contracted to buy certain products Sue was marketing.

Meanwhile, Ng's defence lawyer, Tan Chee Meng said Sue had changed her statement several times during an 8.5-hour interrogation.

He claimed her statements swung from "she loves him and wants to leave her hubby for Ng" to saying it was purely a business case. Sue, who is married and has a two-year-old child, also said in her initial statement that "Boon Gay did not help me in any form to secure business with CNB".

Tan said the pair were involved in an "intimate relationship" since 2009 but only when Ng became director at CNB in 2011 was their relationship called into question.  

Senior executives from both companies are due to be called to testify during the trial later this week. Cecilia Sue is also expected to testify in court at some time.

Although she herself did not make a court appearance, Sue dominated Tuesday morning's proceedings, with prosecution lawyers arguing that her identity should remain anonymous and that her name should not be published in media.

The gag order was turned down by judge Siva Shanmugam who ruled that, "The court is not convinced... the prosecution order is turned down."   

The defence counsel also appealed the court to order a discharge amounting to an acquittal (DATA) based on the “inherent contradictions” in the prosecution’s case”.

But this was later thrown out by Shanmugam who said that the charges have been “reasonably sufficient to give the accused notice of what he’s charged with”.

Ng’s wife, who sat through the Tuesday court session while her husband stood trial, declined comment.

First witness

The court on Tuesday also heard the first witness’s account in the late afternoon from Leslie Ong Yew San, managing director of American firm Oracle Corporation Singapore Pte Ltd.

Ong revealed that part of the reason Sue was successfully hired by his firm because of her “background having covered accounts like the Ministry of Home Affairs”.

He also said that he was aware of the rumours that was spreading on social media at that time about his then-employee in January 2012, but nothing was confirmed. It was also in January that he was called for investigations at CPIB.

After Ng was charged later in June, an internal company investigation ensued. Ong clarified that Sue’s resignation from the company shortly after the internal investigations were not because of the case, but because she failed to achieve her sales performance target.