Businessman Accused of Bribing Ex-SPH Exec (ST)

BackJan 03, 2013

A BUSINESSMAN was charged in court yesterday with eight counts of corruptly giving bribes totalling $83,500 to a former senior executive of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Liaw Kim Chew, 51, allegedly gave between $5,000 and $30,000 to Mr Peter Khoo Chong Meng, then in charge of SPH's Editorial Projects Unit, in return for ensuring that he would be awarded business deals by the unit between 2006 and 2010.

In the charge involving a $30,000 bribe, Liaw gave the money in order to clinch a deal to supply 100,000 coin banks to the unit.

Mr Khoo, 49, was a senior vice-president at SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division and head of its Editorial Projects Unit when he confessed to pocketing CapitaLand shopping vouchers and taking kickbacks from a supplier.

All in, the former sports reporter, who had worked in SPH for 22 years, pocketed $196,500, and $23,095 in CapitaLand vouchers.

The shopping vouchers were meant to be gifts to contest winners and readers as part of branding and marketing activities for The Straits Times.

He was organising chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, and coordinated events and activities to raise donations for the newspaper's charity.

After he voluntarily confessed to what he had done and made full restitution, he was sacked on Sept 15, 2010.

Last month, he was fined a total of $100,000 and ordered to pay a penalty of $83,500 on two charges of corruption and one of criminal breach of trust.

Seven other charges were taken into consideration.

Sparing him a jail sentence, District Judge Soh Tze Bian found him to be "a one-off offender" whose "actions of voluntary confession, surrender and cooperation were clear evidence of his genuine remorse".

Liaw, represented by Mr Prabhakaran Nair, was allowed to travel to Hong Kong for an exhibition from Jan 6 to Jan 12. His bail of $100,000 has been extended until Jan 30.

If convicted, he could be fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each charge.