Singapore’s Supreme Court has ordered OCBC Bank to transfer the US$2.1 million in a bank account belonging to Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), one of the key suspects in the Papua New Guinea diplomatic fraud scandal.
Taiwan is attempting to retrieve US$29.8 million from Wu and Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), the other key suspect, through Singaporean courts.
The news was confirmed by Xie Kunyao (謝坤耀), the lawyer handling the government’s case in Singapore.
JUST A FRACTION
Although the sum is only a fraction of the US$29.8 million and the accumulated interest of US$1.07, Singaporean law allows Taiwan to pursue the claim for a period of 12 years after the judgment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs filed a complaint against Ching and Wu with Singapore’s Supreme Court last year, claiming that the two had used money for private purposes that the ministry had placed in their OCBC bank accounts to be used in connection with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Papua New Guinea.
Wu, who is in prison after having been sentenced to two years and four months for forging documents and making malicious accusations, has not commented on the judgment.
As Wu did not respond to the charges against him, the Taiwanese government’s lawyer in Singapore in October last year obtained a default judgment from the Supreme Court allowing Taiwan to claim the US$29.8 million.
The government is demanding that Wu and Ching return the full sum, jointly or individually, depending on who of the pair has the resources to do so.
Ching has hired a lawyer to argue his case at the Supreme Court and says he spent the funds paid to him by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on working for diplomatic relations with Papua New Guinea.
The Supreme Court plans to review his defense early next year.