No improper influence in Parti Liyani's case: Shanmugam
Shanmugam says it was handled as routine theft, no attempt made to influence anyone
There has been no improper influence in the case involving former maid Parti Liyani, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam said in Parliament yesterday.
After her conviction for theft was quashed by the High Court in September, questions were raised whether there had been undue pressure on the case given the standing of her former employer, Mr Liew Mun Leong, who was then the chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong, a government-owned consultancy firm.
Mr Liew, who stepped down from both posts after Ms Parti's acquittal, was also a senior international business adviser at state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings and a board member of the Temasek Foundation.
Mr Shanmugam said in his ministerial statement yesterday that Ms Parti's case was handled as a routine theft case and no attempt was made to influence anyone.
"We have checked with the investigation officers, their supervisor, the deputy public prosecutors, and the director. There was no pressure or influence exerted on them by Liew Mun Leong or anyone acting on his behalf," he added.
Mr Shanmugam said the case had gone through the usual process, going back and forth between different prosecutors and police before it was cleared at director level.
On the police's actions, he said: "The case didn't come to the attention of the senior management either at the police or in my ministry. No one senior has spoken with or been influenced by Mr Liew Mun Leong or any of the Liews on this case."
He revealed Attorney-General (A-G) Lucien Wong had resigned in 2006 from the board of directors of CapitaLand, where Mr Liew was the president and chief executive, as they had differences on issues.
Mr Wong later recused himself when the Attorney-General's Chambers announced an internal review on her case days after her acquittal.
Mr Shanmugam said: "A-G felt that given that history of differences he has had with Mr Liew, the perception of fairness may be affected if he oversaw the review. Thus, A-G had nothing to do with this case at any stage."
Mr Shanmugam also said the AGC and the police had reasons to take action against Ms Parti.
Her answers "raised many questions", such as how she had found branded items in the trash, and she admitted to taking about 10 to 15 pieces of clothing that she assumed Mr Liew's son Karl did not want.
Her statement on how she "did not steal any other items" was also significant. The AGC also felt it was in the public interest to charge her.
Mr Shanmugam said: "It appeared that Ms Liyani had stolen many items, including some seemingly expensive items, (and) that she had been stealing for years, and it was not impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decisions."
Timeline of Parti Liyani's case over last four years
OCT 28, 2016
Ms Parti Liyani's employment is terminated by the Liews after suspicion that she has been stealing from the family. She is told to pack her things into boxes, and Mr Karl Liew agrees to pay for the boxes to be sent to Indonesia.
Mr Liew Mun Leong's wife Ng Lai Peng, their son Karl, and his wife Heather Lim, open the boxes and say there are items that belong to them.
Mr Liew Mun Leong lodges a police report.
Ms Parti is arrested at Changi Airport.
Police officers go to both the Liews' houses to photograph the evidence and seize some of the items.
APRIL 23, 2018, to JAN 19, 2019
Ms Parti stands trial on three charges of theft in dwelling and one charge of theft as a servant.
MARCH 20, 2019
She is convicted and sentenced to two years and two months' jail.
SEPT 4, 2020
She is acquitted of all charges by the High Court after an appeal.
Ms Parti seeks disciplinary proceedings against the two deputy public prosecutors in her trial.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon gives the go-ahead for investigations against the deputy public prosecutors.
Ms Parti seeks a compensation order for her case, estimating her losses to be about $71,000.