Earlier this week, the Leader of the People’s Voice Party, politician Lim Tean, was charged with three offences by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), namely Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), unlawful stalking, and practising law without a certificate on 66 occasions between 1 April and 9 June of last year.
Before getting into the video that Lim Tean posted yesterday (11 May), maintaining his innocence concerning the Criminal Breach of Trust, it’s important to know what exactly that is first, and why such allegations would be extremely detrimental to his future political career.
What is Criminal Breach of Trust?
Similar to Charles Yeo, the former chairman of the Reform Party, the Criminal Breach of Trust is possibly the last thing you want to be charged with as a civil servant, banker, director or lawyer.
The CBT is governed by sections 405 to 409 of the Penal Code, and is generally defined as the dishonest misuse of funds or property by someone who has been entrusted with the care or dominion over said property.
From that brief description, should an individual be found guilty of CBT, they have proven that they should not be entrusted with any sort of control over property, fund or other assets. It can also lead to fears that they might misappropriate—aka embezzle or illegally pocket—the assets for their own, instead of using it for public welfare.
The individual will also be seen as dishonest for their deliberate intention of taking advantage of another person.
For lawyers, truthfulness is one of the most important traits to have, since you’re constantly placed in a position of trust. If a lawyer is deemed incapable of upholding or violates a contract, then the grounds upon which their career is built is destroyed.
Having said that, you can see why Lim Tean is claiming that these charges are deliberately laid against him in attempt to disqualify him for the next General Election.
If you’re not a trustworthy person, why would anyone want to vote for you?
The Contents of the Video
In the video posted on Wednesday, Mr Lim specifically addresses the CBT charge and the circumstances surrounding that case.
The complainant’s name is Suresh Kumar, a client that the 57-year-old lawyer had previously taken on, pro bono (free-of-charge), for a personal injury case as he had gotten into a motor accident.
Mr Lim states that he represented Suresh Kumar for over a course of a year, and eventually managed to secure a “very nice settlement” from the insurance company.
Judging from that statement, Mr Lim had technically won the case for his client, since Suresh Kumar was given compensation by the insurance company.
However, from Mr Lim’s description of Suresh Kumar, it’s evident that his client is… not the best sort of fella.
The Opposition politician claims that Suresh Kumar was a “drunk” and that his complaint shouldn’t even have been seen as credible in the first place.
Mr Lim justifies this claim by recounting how Suresh had gotten up to some “funny tricks” after the case was settled, switching lawyers multiple times before he filed a complaint against Lim Tean, stating that he hadn’t given him what was due to him.
He also accused Lim Tean of pocketing $30,000.
This accusation turns out to be quite ironic as Suresh had borrowed money from Mr Lim on several occasions.
Moreover, when Lim Tean gave him the money, he had an eyewitness present, and Suresh Kumar signed an acknowledgement letter which stated in no uncertain terms that he had received the money.
The witness and physical evidence are all present; it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Lim hadn’t breached any contract or taken advantage of his client.
The Absenteeism of Suresh Kumar
If further proof is required about the “trustworthiness” of Suresh Kumar, understand that the hearing for the Disciplinary Tribunal that took place on Wednesday had actually been postponed for a long time, on the grounds that the complainant was of “poor health” numerous times.
When the hearing was finally fixed for 11 May, Mr Lim Tean showed up as he was summoned, while Suresh Kumar was suspiciously absent and apparently “uncontactable”.
In Mr Lim’s own words, Suresh must have learnt of the developments somehow and “chickened out” at the last second, because everyone will know, and now knows, he took the money.
Since Mr Lim is being dragged through the legal hoops unwillingly and without cause, he’s entitled to a bit of lamenting.
He’s of the opinion that the complaint made to the Law Society by Suresh shouldn’t have gotten this far in the first place.
The Law Society shouldn’t have believed Suresh’s complaint and went as far as taking up an inquiry and forming a Senior Counsel to pursue it, and then taking it to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
The Law Society has also slapped Mr Lim with the charge of professional misconduct.
The 57-year-old politician states that he’s been a lawyer for 31 years, and feels helpless despite knowing that he’s not in the wrong, yet has expected that something like this would happen to him because he is a member of the opposition party.
Later in the video, Lim Tean stated that the Law Society has withdrawn their charge against him.
More to Come
Although the matter with the Law Society has been resolved, and the CBT charge seems to be an open and shut case, Mr Lim is still held down by the three offences that the SPF listed earlier.
With regards to the unlawful stalking, Mr Lim states that he has never harassed the former employee at his law firm, nor has he stalked anyone in his life.
There is another charge of CBT that Mr Lim has contend with as well.
The police will purportedly require two more months to look into these potential charges.
Mr Lim is scheduled to return to court in July for a pre-trial conference.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Lim Tean)
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