The Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam revealed on Friday (2 October) that he will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament in November on the questions raised about former domestic worker Parti Liyani’s acquittal of theft case, after the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) completed their reviews.

Mr Shanmugam said this to Channel News Asia and noted that the reviews are expected to conclude in “two to three weeks’ time”.

Earlier on 16 September, the Minister said that he would be delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament in October about Ms Parti case.

His remark came following questions filed by a number of MPs, including Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim. The MPs has also asked for an adjournment motion on the case for Parliament to debate at its next sitting.

While speaking to reporters, the Law Minister stated that it would be good to “openly set out what happened and deal with the questions”.

On 8 September, when being asked to comment on the case during the sidelines of a grassroots events, Mr Shanmugam said that the authorities take the judge’s comments very seriously, and will deal with what went wrong in the process of investigations.

He noted that it was good to see that justice has been served, based on the High Court’s judgment.

He also warned the public against prejudging on which part of the process errors had been made, and that they should wait for the outcome of reviews that are now being carried out by the authorities.

“In the process, we should not be defensive. It should not be a witch hunt. It’s good to be a fair process. We have to find out what happened, why it happened and then deal with it. And be accountable. That’s the best way to build trust in public, in the system. To come out in public and say what steps we have taken once the reviews are done,” the Minister remarked.

Background of case

For those who are not aware of the case, on 4 September, the High Court dismissed the convictions of Parti Liyani, an Indonesian domestic worker on four theft charges brought against her by the AGC, four years after she was first arrested by the Singapore Police at the Changi Airport.

Ms Parti was the ex-domestic helper of Changi Airport Group (CAG) Chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family, and had worked for them for eight years. She was arrested in December 2016 after returning to Singapore as there was a warrant out for her arrest.

Mr Liew had earlier filed a police report against her two days after her service was abruptly terminated and she was sent back to Indonesia, claiming that she had stolen valuables from family members amounting to S$50,000.

After a series of investigations and court hearings, Ms Parti was sentenced 26 months of imprisonment by District Judge Olivia Low on 25 March 2019. However, Justice Chan Seng Onn of the High Court overturned the conviction earlier in September, effectively clearing the Indonesian national of all charges made against her.

According to the Straits Times, on 29 September, Ms Parti had filed a notice to discontinue the proceeding against the deputy public prosecutors (DPP)—Tan Wee Hao and Tan Yanying—who conducted her trial for theft.

As such, the court has given Ms Parti two weeks to decide if she wants to go forward with her application to begin disciplinary proceedings against the two DPP.

In fact, Ms Parti has not been home to Indonesia in four years since this entire saga begun and that she is naturally eager to return as soon as possible.

Even so, Ms Parti is said to be “somewhat torn” because she still believes that the DPPs should answer to the allegations she has made against them in her affidavit, on their conduct of her case.

Following the hearing, the AGC said in a statement that the two DPPs “welcome the chance to present a full and transparent account of what transpired during the trial” and “will cooperate fully in any inquiry”.

In response to this, Mr Shanmugam told CNA that “the AGC did not object to the appointment of the disciplinary tribunal, because this would provide an opportunity for the prosecutors to give their account of what happened, and explain themselves”, adding that the matter remains before the courts.

 

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