Singapore prosecutors face probe over maid case

A scandal involving a well-known businessman and a domestic helper sparked a storm of anger and raised questions over Singapore's justice system
A scandal involving a well-known businessman and a domestic helper sparked a storm of anger and raised questions over Singapore's justice system

An Indonesian maid cleared of stealing from a top Singapore businessman in a case that shocked the city-state has won a bid to get two prosecutors investigated, a judge said Friday.  

The scandal involving business leader Liew Mun Leong and Parti Liyani sparked a storm of anger and raised questions about how the justice system treated one of Singapore's best-known businessmen compared with a low-paid domestic helper. 

The family of Liew, chairman of Singapore's airport operator until he quit last month, fired Liyani in 2016 and she was charged with stealing items from them including watches, clothes, and a DVD player. 

She was initially found guilty and sentenced to more than two years in jail but was acquitted on appeal, with a judge raising questions about how the case had been conducted.

Liyani filed a complaint against the two prosecutors involved in her case in June, alleging they concealed facts and suggested she had lied about how she came to possess the DVD player.  

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon allowed the probe against the prosecutors to move forward, saying he was satisfied there was sufficient evidence their "conduct might suggest a lack of candour". 

"This may have resulted in the applicant being cross-examined unfairly, and in the applicant and the court being misled".

The judge who overturned Liyani's initial verdict said there was reason to believe the family's filing of theft charges was aimed at preventing her from lodging a complaint against them for sending her to clean the home and office of Liew's son, which is illegal under local laws. 

The affluent financial hub is home to about 260,000 domestic helpers, who mostly come from poorer Asian countries such as Indonesia and earn salaries far below the average Singaporean.

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