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AGC Not Appealing Against Ex-SPH Exec's Sentence (ST)

BackDec 11, 2012

THE Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has decided not to appeal against former Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) senior executive Peter Khoo's sentence for corruption and criminal breach of trust.

Khoo (above), upon hearing the news yesterday, pointed to his religion for seeing him through two years of torment, which began when he confessed to accepting $196,500 in kickbacks and vouchers. Now that he can finally move on, the 49-year-old is contemplating working full time in church.

He said: "After all that God has done to see me through, I desire to serve God, be it at church as a father, or at work."

He could have been jailed but last Thursday, a district court fined him $100,000 on top of an $83,500 penalty, which was the total sum of bribes he received.

Khoo had earlier paid the authorities the $83,500 – which he received from a friend to whom he awarded business deals from 2006 to 2010. The prosecution had 14 days to appeal.

After reviewing district judge Soh Tze Bian's grounds of decision, it decided not to.

An AGC spokesman yesterday noted that the judge made clear this was a unique case without precedent, citing strong mitigating factors. These included Khoo's voluntary, detailed confession, when there was no informant or paper trail that led to him.

The AGC had initially pressed for a six- to eight-week jail term and a fine. But yesterday, it noted that the judge had stressed there was no presumption in favour of a non-custodial sentence for private sector corruption cases, and the main sentencing considerations in a corruption case are deterrence and punishment.

Close friends of Khoo, who is married with a young son, described how it was hard for his family each time the case was publicised in the media.

Still, he wanted to use his extensive contacts to contribute to society while waiting to be charged. Last year, the former SPH senior vice-president worked with Japanese restaurants here to raise over $200,000 to help tsunami victims from the country.

Said Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua, a friend for over two decades: "He has been to hell and back. I am proud of how he stayed brave and strong."