Tuesday, July 21, 2009

bending down for bf

DPP: Ming Yi bent over backwards for Yeung

By Carolyn Quek

Senior Counsel Andre Yeap (right), the lawyer for Ming Yi.

FORMER Ren Ci chief Ming Yi wanted Raymond Yeung to work for him so badly that he spent three years trying to get the Manpower Ministry (MOM) to grant his personal assistant an employment pass.

The monk personally went down to MOM to talk to an officer and also got two Members of Parliament, Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon and Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, to write appeals to the ministry.

Those appeals were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the Buddhist monk went ahead anyway to hire Yeung, an Australian citizen - an act that later earned him a stern warning.

These details were revealed in court yesterday as the prosecution in the criminal trial against Ming Yi and Yeung set out to show how much the monk would bend over backwards for his former personal executive.

The 47-year-old monk is accused of making out a $50,000 loan from Ren Ci's coffers to Yeung in May 2004, a loan which the prosecution alleges is unauthorised. Yeung was not an employee of Ren Ci at that time.

The prosecution produced evidence to show that Ming Yi had offered Yeung, now 34, an employment contract some time in May 2001, even before the monk had met an MOM officer over the appeal.

The prosecution also used a $60,000 loan from Ren Ci to MP Ong Seh Hong to highlight how much preferential treatment Yeung got when it came to his loan.

Ming Yi had testified earlier that loans had been given to non-employees too, such as the loan to Dr Ong before he officially joined the charity as its clinical director in 2000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaswant Singh accused the monk of trying to suggest that Dr Ong's loan was illegal and improper. Ming Yi said no.

DPP Singh showed that Dr Ong's loan was documented and a clear repayment plan was also worked out.

This was unlike Yeung's loan, where there was no repayment plan in place and also no documentation of the loan made.

Although Ren Ci agreed to Dr Ong's loan, he got it only after he became an employee. Yeung got his loan about six months before he was officially employed by Ren Ci.

The prosecution also grilled Ming Yi about his credit card spending. Yeung had at least three supplementary cards linked to the monk's account.

The prosecutor pointed to Yeung's extravagant splurges on luxury brands such as Gucci, Hermes and Prada and asked the monk why he never put a stop to them.

Ming Yi said he had questioned the purchases before but he never cancelled any of Yeung's cards because the former flight steward would eventually pay him back.

When the prosecution asked about a $5,000 purchase Yeung made on a Louis Vuitton product, his lawyer Senior Counsel Andre Yeap objected, asking how that was relevant.

DPP Singh said: 'I'm sure it's relevant to explain why in this very early stage, the accused let Raymond Yeung spend in one transaction more than he makes in a month. It shows how particularly indulgent this witness was to Raymond Yeung.'

Yeung at that time had a salary of $4,700.

The transactions also showed that Ming Yi had, in May 2004, unpaid credit card debts of about $70,000.

DPP Singh said that Ming Yi was so steeped in debt that he would not have any personal money to lend Yeung and so had to use Ren Ci's funds instead.

'I'm putting it to you that you ran Ren Ci like it was your personal fiefdom. You had one rule for your staff and another for your crony Raymond Yeung,' said the prosecutor.

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