SINGAPORE: To pay the S$150,000 in damages owed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation, blogger Roy Ngerng will start with payments of S$100 a month for five years, his lawyer said on Monday (Mar 14).
These instalments will start from Apr 1, 2016. After five years - from Apr 1, 2021 - Ngerng will have to pay S$1,000 a month until the full sum is paid, lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said.
In addition, Ngerng will have to pay S$30,000 by Wednesday, Mar 16 for the costs of the Assessment of Damages hearing.
If he pays all the instalments on time, Ngerng will complete paying by 2033.
In an email, Mr Thuraisingam said that on behalf of Ngerng, they had agreed with Mr Lee's lawyers on terms to settle the costs payable for the assessment hearing and the terms of payment of the S$150,000 late last week.
In a statement later on Thursday, the Press Secretary to Mr Lee confirmed that Mr Ngerng had asked to be let off by paying only S$36,000 in costs and damages. In response, the Prime Minister had said Ngerng had to discharge the entire debt, but would be allowed to pay it in instalments, provided that costs were paid immediately.
"Roy Ngerng has agreed and this was recorded by the Court this morning," added the statement. "Roy Ngerng will pay costs of S$30,000 by Mar 16 and the S$150,000 over time.”
Ngerng will not have to pay any interest if he makes his payments on time. However, if he breaches the agreement - such as by failing to make any one of the payments on time - the full amount outstanding plus Court Judgment interest will be immediately payable.
Mr Thuraisingam was representing Ngerng on a pro bono basis.
In an update on Mar 16, Mr Lee's press secretary said that the Prime Minister's lawyer received the first payment of S$30,000 from the blogger, "in accordance with the agreement between Mr Lee and Mr Ngerng".