Singapore

Man apologises to Josephine Teo and husband over graft allegations

He also takes down offending post after being issued letter of demand from Mrs Teo's lawyers on Wednesday

One of the two men who accused Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and her husband of corruption has apologised and taken down the offending post, after receiving a letter of demand from her lawyers.

In a post late on Wednesday night, Facebook user Donald Liew said a statement he published on May 14 was false and completely without foundation.

His post had alleged that Mrs Teo and her husband had improperly benefited from the coronavirus outbreak in migrant worker dormitories in Singapore and the development of "emergency housing facilities" for Covid-19 patients.

Mrs Teo's husband, Mr Teo Eng Cheong, is the international chief executive in charge of Singapore, South-east Asia and North Asia at Surbana Jurong, which developed the community care facility at Singapore Expo.

"I apologise unreservedly to Mrs Josephine Teo for making (the allegations). I have removed the statement and undertake not to publish any further statements on this, or to make any allegations to the same or similar effect, in any manner whatsoever," wrote Mr Liew.

The apology came after Mrs Teo's lawyers issued letters of demand to Mr Liew and activist Jolovan Wham on Wednesday, requiring them to withdraw their allegations of corruption and profiteering, which the minister said were "untrue, scurrilous and completely baseless".

She also said, in a statement the law firm issued on her behalf, that neither she nor her spouse had any involvement in the commissioning of the projects at Singapore Expo or the monetary transactions.

Surbana Jurong dealt directly with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Development, she added, in her response to posts on social media and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp that alleged conflicts of interest in Surbana Jurong's development of the Singapore Expo facilities.

Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs, said that while she understands she is legally entitled to substantial damages, she does not intend to pursue the matter further or claim damages if the allegations are publicly withdrawn and apologies given.

The lawyers' letters also require Mr Liew and Mr Wham to make a donation of $1,000 each to the Migrant Workers' Assistance Fund.

It could not be confirmed if Mr Liew had made the donation.

The Straits Times was not able to reach Mr Wham for comment.

coronavirus