Convicted ex-charity manager gets 2 years' jail for fabricating evidence
- POSTED: 26 Sep 2013 19:16
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The former head of three charitable organisations, who had been slapped with a 13-month jail term for cheating in 2010, was sentenced to two years' jail for fabricating evidence.
SINGAPORE: The former head of three charitable organisations, who had been slapped with a 13-month jail term for cheating in 2010, was back in the dock on Thursday.
54-year-old Stephanie Chee Jok Heng was sentenced to two years' jail by a district court for intentionally fabricating evidence for the purpose of an appeal against her conviction and sentence.
Her appeal was later dismissed.
Chee was the former general manager of Parkway Healthcare Foundation (PHF), the Toa Payoh Senior Citizens' Health Care Centre and the Geylang Senior Citizens' Health Care Centre.
Between March 2003 and April 2004, she cheated the organisations into reimbursing her S$5,761.
The charges involved Chee claiming she had paid Ms Seoh Bee Luan, her children's piano teacher, commissions for help in fund-raising, and a purported payment to Ms Sherena Lua, tutor to Chee's children, for translation work.
Both Ms Seoh and Ms Lua testified during the trial that this was not true.
After Chee was convicted and sentenced, she appealed and sought to admit additional evidence.
Chee admitted on Thursday that she had doctored a conversation between herself and Ms Seoh on an audio cassette tape, in an attempt to show that Ms Seoh had lied to the court during the trial as she did not like Chee.
In the recording, Ms Seoh was heard to have made certain admissions which contradicted her evidence in court.
The tape was examined by a US-based audio forensic company in 2011.
Among its findings were that the answers in the recording allegedly given by Ms Seoh had been manually edited, and all the answers originated from the same, identical speech utterance.
Telephone records also showed that Chee had made three calls to Ms Seoh on 21 October 2010.
However, all three calls lasted less than a minute although the tape recording had been doctored to create the impression that there was a single phone conversation that lasted almost two minutes.
The court heard that Chee had paid a stranger to insert the replies by Ms Seoh from another recording, into that particular recording that she planned to submit to the court.
In court on Thursday, a tearful Chee pleaded with the judge for leniency, saying that she had been unemployed since 2009 and wished to go home soon to look after her elderly mother who is in hospital.
District Judge Mathew Joseph had strong words for her in handing out the sentence, saying that what Chee had done had cast serious doubt on the integrity of the prosecution witness, and that the offence was deliberate and pre-meditated.
"Giving false evidence in judicial proceedings is a serious offence and can have serious consequences on the judicial process and administration of justice," he added.
Chee was also involved in an unrelated High Court suit in 2010 against paraplegic athlete
William Tan, for alleged repayment of loans and property investment losses totalling S$400,000.