SINGAPORE – Two police officers who handled the theft case of former foreign domestic worker Parti Liyani have been fined and had pay rises confiscated after an internal investigation found they had been negligent their functions.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam disclosed this in Parliament on Monday February 14 when Mr. Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, MP for Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency, requested an update on the police investigations into the case that had come to national attention. in 2020.
The case involves Ms Parti, an Indonesian, and her former employer, former Changi Airport Group Chairman Liew Mun Leong.
Ms Parti had been accused of stealing from Mr Liew’s family and was initially sentenced to 26 months in prison, but was later acquitted by the High Court of all theft charges.
A remaining charge was later withdrawn and it alleged that the prosecution concealed facts and misled the court.
Mr Liew subsequently resigned from all his public roles and his son Karl Liew was charged in court with providing false evidence and information in the case.
On Monday, Mr Shanmugam said the Police Investigator (IO) originally assigned to handle the case and his supervisor had failed to take appropriate action to complete their required task.
When the police report against Ms Parti was filed, the OI had treated it as a routine theft case, but there were some shortcomings, Mr Shanmugam said.
He failed to travel quickly to the scene of the crime to investigate and collect evidence, which contributed to breaking the chain of custody of some exhibits, the internal police investigation revealed.
The IO also failed to properly verify some of the claims made by the parties during the investigation. His supervisor also failed to provide sufficient guidance, which contributed to the breaches.
Mr Shanmugam said an “average” financial penalty was imposed on the two officers.
Asked by Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim for details of the punishment, Mr Shanmugam said the two officers had lost several months worth of salary increases, depending on the respective roles they played.
It was “halfway” to what could have been imposed, he said without specifying.
Officers were also fined, with the supervisor – who had a higher salary – receiving a higher sentence as the fine was calculated on the basis of the same number of months’ raise they would have received.
Penalties for their violation can range from a reprimand or monetary penalty to demotion and dismissal. The maximum monetary penalty imposed under the Civil Service Commission Instruction (Delegation of Disciplinary Duties) is a fine equivalent to the two-year increment stop.
Mr Shanmugam said the police internal affairs office which carried out the investigation into the two officers had taken into account the “intense pressure” under which the OI was working.
“He was handling a lot of ongoing investigations, prosecutions, carrying out arrest operations at the same time,” Mr Shanmugam said, adding that the only way to deal with this problem was to increase the police force.
“We haven’t solved this problem yet. It’s a difficult problem, difficult to solve, given the general labor shortage,” he said.
Mr Shanmugam added that the two officers had, until the incident, done their job conscientiously.
“I have sympathy for the situation they find themselves in,” he said. “But they didn’t live up to expectations. And they were treated, the same way other officers would have been treated, in similar circumstances.