Shanmugam Explains Why Lee Hsien Yang & Lee Suet Fern Were Named In Police Probe
The brother and sister-in-law of Lee Hsien Loong — Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern — were publicly named as they have “essentially absconded Singapore” during investigations.
Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam addressed parliamentary questions regarding disclosing their names, saying it was a matter of public interest.
While subjects of investigations are not normally named, there have been examples when it is required.
One example is where the offender has absconded or left the jurisdiction while investigations are ongoing.
Shanmugam says 38 Oxley Road is matter of great public interest
Two questions were directed at Mr Shanmugam, including from NCMP Leong Mun Wai (PSP) and Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera.
Mr Leong asked why the couple’s names were disclosed while being investigated, when the names of six former management staff of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited were not, regarding their involvement in a bribery case.
Mr Perera asked under what circumstances law enforcement agencies divulge the names of individuals associated with an ongoing investigation, or details of the investigation, before it is completed.
The discussions surrounding Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s home, 38 Oxley Rd, are of significant public interest, Mr Shanmugam said.
Additionally, the matter was debated extensively in this house.
Investigations into Lee Hsien Yang & Lee Suet Fern were already announced
The Law Society’s Disciplinary Tribunal and the Court of Three Judges had found Mrs Lee guilty of misleading and cheating Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
They’d also concluded she and her husband lied under oath.
“To summarise, the Disciplinary Tribunal and the Court of Three Judges had said Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern were lying. They had been found to be dishonest, and more,” Mr Shanmugam said.
They were both under investigation, and it was necessary to disclose that during a parliamentary answer on 2 Mar by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.
Police will respond with the facts if there is a need to or if Parliamentary questions are filed, he added.
As these facts were already mentioned in Parliament, the prejudice was judged to be “minimal”.
Other examples where individuals under investigation named
Mr Shanmugam cited two examples where individuals under police investigations have been named.
One of them is Karl Liew, who was involved in the Parti Liyani case. He is currently assisting with investigations, and Mr Shanmugam disclosed this in 2020 during a debate on the matter.
“Authorities thought it necessary to disclose that Mr Karl Liew was being investigated,” he said.
“As can be seen, there are a wide variety of situations where it may become necessary to make public the fact that a person is under investigation, or has been arrested, or is assisting in investigations.”
There is thus a need to assess the facts as well as public interest, he added.
Police also named Pi Jiapeng and Pansuk Siriwipa after they fled Singapore during investigations into cheating cases involving luxury goods.
Regarding Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited
Mr Shanmugam also replied to Mr Leong’s question regarding Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited.
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) had, after trying, concluded it could not sustain charges in courts here.
This is because the actions of the accused were made overseas, with key witnesses and documents unavailable.
This lack of information meant CPIB could not proceed with criminal charges.
Names are generally not disclosed during investigations as “a cloud would have hung over” said person if they were later found innocent.
But for Karl Liew, his case was weighed against public interest, and it was found that the prejudice of naming him would be “marginal”.
The same applies here to both Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern, Mr Shanmugam said.
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Featured image adapted from Progress Singapore Party on Facebook and Lee Hsien Yang on Facebook.
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