OA on lookout for CSJ at airport even on Saturday night

January 11, 2007
Singapore Democrats

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Dr Chee Soon Juan swore that he was going to travel regardless of whether he was given permission or not. Or so said Ms Kalaselvi, Manager at the Official Assignees’s (OA) office, when she interviewed Dr Chee on 28 Mar 06.

Dr Chee is charged with attempting to leave the country without permission from the OA’s office to attend an international conference organised by the World Movement for Democracy in Istanbul, Turkey in Apr 06.

As a result Ms Kalaselvi claimed that she quickly alerted the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to stop Dr Chee at Changi Airport on 1 Apr 06.

Her testimony, however, directly contradicted the evidence given by two of her colleagues. Ms Jasmine Ang and Mr Patrick Lim both testified earlier that Dr Chee had been cooperative with the OA’s office in communicating with them, providing the necessary information and attending meetings.

At a later point when she was confronted on two occasions by defence counsel, Mr Alfred Dodwell, Ms Kalaselvi admitted that Dr Chee had not been defiant:

Dodwell: “I put it to you that when asked to fill up forms and whenever he was asked to sign the forms, he did not protest.”

Kalaselvi: “Agree.”

Dodwell: “I put it to you that the officer had gone through the forms and whenever he asked Dr Chee to sign the forms, Dr Chee duly signed them.”

Kalaselvi: “Agree.”

So why did the OA Manager tried to show that Dr Chee was uncooperative? Was it to justify the fact that she had alerted the ICA to stop Dr Chee at the airport? Ms Kalaselvi testified that she was on the telephone and communicating with an airport immigrations officer, a Mr Nah, between 10:25 pm and 12 midnight on Saturday, 1 Apr 06.

The OA officer must have been an extra-conscientious civil servant who regularly kept an eye out for bankrupts (all 25,000 of them under her charge) at the airport, even on weekends.

Either that or she was being extra-cautious because the creditors in this case happen to be two former prime ministers of Singapore and one of them goes by the name of Lee Kuan Yew.

Ms Kalaselvi also admitted that the Commissioner for Oaths from her office should not have signed off on the form on 9 Mar 06. Dr Chee was asked to fill up a form, witnessed by the Commissioner on that date.

Ms Kalaselvi’s staff subsequently discovered that they needed additional information and asked Dr Chee to make additions to the form on 28 Mar. The amended portions and the date they were made were, however, not noted. This is a significant problem because the form is signed and sworn before a Commisioner of Oaths before being filed in the High Court.

Ms Kalaselvi however defied that the amendments were “minor”.

Cross-examination of Ms Kalaselvi will continue on 29 Jan 06 in Subordinate Court 15. The case cannot proceed any earlier because of scheduling problems.