FORMER Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protocol chief Lim Cheng Hoe (pic), 61, was sentenced to 15 months’ jail.
The public service veteran at the heart of the pineapple tarts fraud case had earlier pleaded guilty to having pilfered S$88,997 (RM232,553) of taxpayers’ money, mostly on thousands of boxes of tarts he claimed he bought but never did.
Prosecution had seeked an 18-month jail term, but Lim’s lawyer Philip Fong had argued that a prison term of between eight and 10 months and a fine was enough. Not only did Lim fully pay back the money, he also did not benefit personally.
Lim made the false claims only to cut through bureaucratic red tape, Fong had said in mitigation earlier.
When asked how he felt before the sentencing, Lim said outside the courtroom: “Just get it over and done with.”
Lim started serving his sentence yesterday. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network