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Iswaran claims he was unaware of ‘veiled gratification’ in gifts from businessmen

Davinder Singh, defending ex-PAP Minister Iswaran, argues his client was unaware of the “veiled gratification” behind gifts from Ong Beng Seng & Lum Kok Seng as he highlights Iswaran’s awareness of the Ministers’ Code of Conduct.



SINGAPORE: Davinder Singh, the defence lawyer for former PAP Minister S Iswaran, argued that his client was unaware or suspicious of the fact that gifts from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng and construction firm boss Lum Kok Seng constituted “veiled gratification.”

“He was dealing with very, very dear and close friends,” Mr Singh told the court during the hearing to argue for a joint trial of all Iswaran’s charges on Wednesday (8 May).

“His state of mind at that time was that not only was he dealing with close friends, he had no idea at all that there was any … he had no knowledge or suspicion that the gifts were offered as veiled gratification.”

During the hearing, Mr Singh highlighted that Iswaran’s state of mind during the alleged offences was informed by his awareness of the Ministers’ Code of Conduct.

Lawyer: Iswaran aware of the Ministers’ Code of Conduct

On his client’s state of mind during the alleged offences, Mr Singh pointed out that Iswaran had been aware of the Ministers’ Code of Conduct.

Under the code, ministers are not prohibited from accepting gifts from family or personal friends in a “genuinely personal capacity”.

Iswaran, aged 61, attended the High Court hearing on Wednesday, accompanied by his legal team from Davinder Singh Chambers, comprising Mr Singh, Mr Navin Thevar, and Mr Rajvinder Singh.

Their efforts culminated in a successful application to consolidate all charges into a single trial, a decision supported by a High Court judge who found merit in their arguments.

Before Justice Vincent Hoong, Davinder Singh contested the prosecution’s decision to pursue separate trials and delay charges involving Mr Ong, despite the initial scheduling of trial dates for this specific set of charges.

Singh argued for the consolidation of both sets of charges due to their similar features.

Presently, trial dates are set for August and September 2024.

However, the prosecution, led by Deputy Attorney-General Tai Wei Shyong, advocates for trying the charges related to Mr Lum before those related to Mr Ong.

The prosecution, represented by Deputy Attorney-General Tai Wei Shyong, is asking for the charges in relation to Mr Lum to be tried first, then the charges in relation to Mr Ong.

Iswaran, initially facing 27 charges on 18 January and subsequently given eight more charges on 25 March, is confronted with a total of 35 charges concerning items valued at approximately S$400,000.

The first set of charges against Iswaran comprises 24 counts of obtaining valuables as a public servant, two counts of corruption, and one count of obstructing justice.

These allegations involve the corrupt receipt of over S$166,000 (US$122,418) worth of flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets to events, allegedly in exchange for promoting the business interests of Mr Ong.

In the second set of charges, Iswaran is accused of obtaining valuables worth nearly S$19,000 from Mr Lum Kok Seng, the managing director of Singapore-listed Lum Chang Holdings.

Iswaran has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He had also tendered his resignation from Parliament and the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Notably, neither Mr Ong nor Mr Lum have been charged in relation to these allegations.

Judge approves Iswaran’s request for a joint trial

Iswaran’s defence counsel Mr Singh emphasized that this would mark the first occasion for the Singapore courts to address Section 165 offences.

“(Total of 32 charges) all invoking a section which has never, to my knowledge, been invoked in Singapore courts. This is going to be the first time the Singapore courts are dealing with (Section) 165, its ingredients and what defence is available.”

He stated that the defence’s contention would revolve around the argument that Section 165 does not encompass situations where gifts are exchanged due to friendship.

Mr Singh further argued that separate trials would subject Iswaran to prolonged stress, especially between the conclusion of the trial related to charges concerning Mr Lum and the subsequent trial involving charges concerning Mr Ong.

He suggested that the prosecution’s preference for trying the charges involving MrnLum first was to gain insight into Iswaran’s defence strategy for the charges related to Mr Ong.

However, Deputy Attorney-General Tai rebuffed Mr Singh’s suggestion, contending that the decision for two trials stemmed from the failure to meet the legal criteria for a joint trial.

He highlighted the common occurrence of consecutive trials and asserted that the charges were distinct and independent, lacking factual connection.

Tai elaborated that the charges related to Mr. Lum pertained to the acceptance of items like whisky and wine, while those related to Mr. Ong involved entirely different items.

Additionally, he underscored differences in the contexts of the charges, with one set linked to a construction contract between Lum Chang and the Land Transport Authority, and the other predominantly associated with Formula 1 contracts between race promoter Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board.

“Not only are the facts in issue for the Ong Beng Seng charges entirely irrelevant for the David Lum charges, the background facts and witnesses of fact for the two sets of charges are distinct.”

Despite the defence’s and prosecution’s arguments, Justice Hoong approved Iswaran’s request for a joint trial.

The judge deemed the Section 165 charges against both Mr Ong and Mr Lum legally identical, arising from Iswaran’s duties as a public servant.

He reasoned that differences in the givers, items, and witnesses did not signify factual dissimilarity, fulfilling the legal requirement for the charges to constitute “a series of offences of the same or a similar character.”


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Unaware? That means to say the rest also not aware of the word corruption?

i guess …
he also didn’t know he was in charge of transport in singapore

It was a “misstep ”
Case closed..,,😂🤣😅😆😁

I believed that ultimately the sentence meted out need to b harsh since the salary of the ministers in this country quite high

I believe that former transportasi minister clsim should not b taken seriously n upon receiving the gift from his fren, he should immediately declared it to the authority

Another hilarious papee dog & pony show in a circus afternoon matinee with monkeys,parrots,capucines etc etc in attendance!!!???

Will this iguana after serving his jail term, revoke his citizenship and deport back to Indi-a?
Afterall, he was born there and migrated here.

Maybe our SGov can enlighten our national press, BBC, Reuters, ABC, RTM and etc. Also the White House.

Unaware? This kind of calibre the MIW put as minister? That means if everyone pleads unaware we don’t need AGC or judges anymore right?

Seriously I don’t know what evidence the police has gathered to make AG decision to charge him, hope is not just merely receiving expensive gifts. If prosecution lose the case and Iswaran is acquitted, it will becomes a laughing stock. In the context of law it has to prove beyond reasonable doubts to convict a person, and that got to be proven based on decision made that favour the induced parties. Else it will just be close friendship and gifts exchange just like it happens in any festival or celebrations.

Iswaran’s very long nose likely tells us that he is LYING (you know, like Pinocchio). If not, then he is SO naive that he shouldn’t have been paid millions of dollars as a minister supposedly because he is an “elite”.

free riders

Of course he isn’t aware that receiving expensive gifts may be veiled gratification – all along he thought they were Entitlements. Thanks to his Boss’ Entitled mentality.

Is Iswaran or up North’s Najib better at feigning ignorance when testifying in the Court?

This is what you learn while working for pap, act stupid and say don’t know this, don’t know that.

I­ g­e­t­ p­a­i­d­ o­v­e­r­ $220 p­e­r­ h­o­u­r­ w­o­r­k­i­n­g­ f­r­o­m­ h­o­m­e­ w­i­t­h­ 2 k­i­d­s­ a­t­ h­o­m­e­. i­ n­e­v­e­r­ t­h­o­u­g­h­t­ i­’d­ b­e­ a­b­l­e­ t­o­ d­o­ i­t­ b­u­t­ m­y­ b­e­s­t­ f­r­i­e­n­d­ e­a­r­n­s­ o­v­e­r­ 15k­ a­ m­o­n­t­h­ d­o­i­n­g­ t­h­i­s­ a­n­d­ s­h­e­ c­o­n­v­i­n­c­e­d­ m­e­ t­o­ t­r­y­. t­h­e­ p­o­t­e­n­t­i­a­l­ w­i­t­h­ t­h­i­s­ i­s­ e­n­d­l­e­s­s­…

More infor… 𝐖𝐰𝐰.𝐏𝐚𝐲𝐬𝟕𝟕.𝐜𝐨𝐦

How many times do friends give you gifts? On your birthdays? On festive occasions? I don’t think this defence is going to work. The amount and the nos. of collection by Iswaran is too many from OBS. Perhaps this can hold for the $19,000/- from Lam but for me it is still too much. Baskets of fruits, liquor, chocolates , wallets or pens but not what Iswaran received repeatedly over a period of time but DS is also the PM’s lawyer and we must remember LSW. DS also managed to get a fine of $1500/- for a doctor who prescribed… Read more »

Section 6.4 of M8nisterial Code.of conduct In his submissions, Mr Singh also referred to section 6.4 of the ministerial code of conduct, which states that the code shall not prevent ministers or members of their families from accepting: Gifts from family or personal friends in a genuinely personal capacity, Gifts clearly unconnected with the ministerial office, or Gifts which would not normally be regarded as influencing or tending to influence the minister in the performance of his duties, such as occasional and inexpensive gifts of calendars and office diaries, and conventional hospitality on a modest scale that is normal in… Read more »

If this “i didnt know” game doesnt work, what else will DS advise his client to declare?
Looks like a game of charades, designed and orchestrated by the PAP themselves…
Iswaran is perhaps their “fall guy”.

Last edited 13 days ago by Whats next

Is he competing with Najib to see who can forget or act ignorance more to win Stupid Prize?

Last edited 13 days ago by Singapore Fooled Again n Again

Million$ minister doesn’t know expensive gifts are “veiled gratification”??? Our ministers are stupider than I thought, hor.

Iswaran the Scrapegoat..
OBS still running around a free man. How does PAP explain that.

Singh smart move. Trying to prove the gifts are more of friendship and not affecting any of the decisions of the collaboration. Yes, the most breach of code of conduct, but what the hag as Iswaran already resigned. That’s already a big win. Prosecution got to prove the gifts are actually buying favour and affecting decision making. Could be tough. Receiving gifts alone does not constitute corruption. Moreover there is no monetary changing hands, just freebies gifts and Iswaran can say I got the gifts from close friends, and this got nothing to do with my job. I violated code… Read more »

Do you all remember Ah Jeep says he do not know why his bank account got so many zeroes? tsk tsk tsk.

Last edited 13 days ago by john lim

Ya people give this government minister gifts for no reason. In China and much of Asia, people give gifts to powerful politicians to grease their palms, understand? Don’t bullshit lah, bayi. Are you telling the court iswaran was stupid and a imbecile to not know why this filthy rich businessman who gave the Lees unwarranted discounts on Harry Pays Less (for) NJ now give him free flights and hotel stays and concerts tickets, free F1 vip rooms as gifts for nothing??? How laughable and how ridiculous is that for even a SC to utter such nonsense?

Ignorance is never the best defence for any unlawful act.It would be interesting to see how the previous lawyer of HL explore the ways out of this massive corruption case.Let’s see how the rule of /by law play out in the case.

Is Singh learning from the tricks of CPIB’s failure of investigations unable to uncover who are actually behind pulling the strings to bribe Petrobas, and failure to dig who are the robots or devils signing the Bribery payment cheques?

There must appeared huge huge armies of ghosts roaming Keppel Road, F1 Circuits Roads, Orchard Road were Hotel Properties located. That’s very very haunted indeed.

Probably there are also ghosts in Sri Temasek too other than in Mandai Columbarium where the modern SG founder is known to live there.

So, that’s the line of defence that Iswaran’s solicitor have decided to take up. That Iswaran was dealing with “friends” and at all times, … he was conscious and aware of the Ministers’ Code of Conduct. What about his ministerial buddies and personal assistants and associates, … did they not warn him that he should avoid mixing friends with state business where he’s personally involved in or responsible for. Odd, … that there was no heads up on where Iswaran may be heading, or appear to be heading towards; ie a big big fall !!! Unless of course, as always,… Read more »

Bla Bla Bla Bla ……………….

He must have thought…
SG is a land of FREE LUNCH !!!

Last edited 14 days ago by wee

Wah what gigantic cocks this lawyer gave as example.

The Bloody Bastard PAP Administration SLAUGHTERED 100s of 1000s of chickens and chicks for their PRICELESS wings to BAIT Voters – and Singh trying hard to convince learned judges what Iswaran is unaware of gratification when the PAP has been religiously practised giving foc chicken wings for 1000s and 1000s of days.

Wah this is a hideously cunning piece of argument.

Can I also because a Minister? Collecting millions a year yet the reply is just like the Malaysia ex-top guy who’s in jail now.

If the AG deem Iswaran is aware of the Minister Code of Conduct, then what about the 2 Ridout Road clowns?
Different sets of laws applied to different sets of ppl?
Ain’t all 3 of them …MINISTERS?😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣😆😆😆