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Pritam Singh appoints ex-prosecutor to defend him in court over his alleged lies to Parliament

Pritam Singh appoints ex-prosecutor to defend him in court over his alleged lies to Parliament

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 18 Apr 2024
Author: Samuel Devaraj

Opposition leader Pritam Singh was charged on March 19 with two counts of lying to the parliamentary committee.

Opposition leader Pritam Singh has appointed former prosecutor Andre Jumabhoy as his lawyer for his case involving alleged lies he told a parliamentary committee.

According to an update on the Singapore Courts website on April 15, Mr Jumabhoy and Mr Aristotle Emmanuel Eng Zhen Yang from Mr Jumabhoy’s law firm have come on board the case.

Singh’s pre-trial conference was held on April 17, and the case has been adjourned to May 31 for another pre-trial conference.

Mr Jumabhoy’s LinkedIn page shows he was with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) between 2011 and 2016. During that time, he was a prosecutor in a sex-for-grades corruption trial involving a former NUS law professor.

Mr Jumabhoy received a promotion to Deputy Senior State Counsel in 2014, according to his firm’s website.

Singh, the Workers’ Party (WP) chief, was charged on March 19 with two counts of lying to the parliamentary committee.

The charges relate to his testimony before the committee, which had been convened in November 2021 to look into a lying controversy involving his party’s former MP Raeesah Khan.

On Nov 1, 2021, Ms Khan admitted to lying in Parliament at an earlier sitting about details of a sexual assault case that she had alleged was mishandled by the police. She resigned on Nov 30, 2021.

The parliamentary committee called Singh as a witness, and said later he had not been truthful during the hearings while under oath. It recommended referring him and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap to the public prosecutor for further investigations with a view to considering criminal proceedings, which Parliament later endorsed.

According to the charge sheets, Singh allegedly gave false answers to the committee’s questions on Dec 10 and 15, 2021. 

On one occasion, he allegedly said that after an Aug 8, 2021, meeting between him, Ms Khan and WP leaders Sylvia Lim and Faisal, he wanted Ms Khan to clarify in Parliament that what she told it on Aug 3 about having accompanied a rape victim to a police station was untrue.

On two other occasions, he allegedly said that during a meeting with Ms Khan on Oct 3, 2021, he had asked her to come clean about her lie if the issue was brought up in the House on Oct 4.

In a joint statement on March 19, the AGC and police said the prosecution decided not to charge Mr Faisal over his refusal to answer relevant questions that had been put to him by the committee.

The WP MP was issued an advisory by the police to familiarise himself with conduct expected of MPs under the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act, and to refrain from any act that may be in breach of it.

Lying in response to questions posed by a parliamentary committee is considered a criminal offence under the Act, and carries a maximum fine of $7,000 or a jail term of up to three years, or both.

Source: Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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