Government to amend law in CBT cases
PUBLISHED ON 05 Feb 2018
The sentences meted out in the City Harvest Church case were too low and the Government is set to amend the legislation to mete out higher penalties to directors and other senior officers who commit criminal breach of trust (CBT), said Minister for Law and Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam.

Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday, 5 February 2018, Mr Shanmugam said that Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the reduced sentences of City Harvest Church’s six former leaders was contrary to the legal position that has been applied by the courts in Singapore for the past 40 years. This was based on a 1976 High Court decision that found company directors are liable for a more serious offence under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

"The Court of Appeal's decision means there is now a lacuna in the law," said Mr Shanmugam. He noted that the Court of Appeal has acknowledged this gap and called for a policy review of the CBT legislation.

"If you're a senior officer, director in the organisation you're in a position of greater trust, you've considerable authority to make decisions in relation to the organisation's assets. If you abuse that trust, you should be more culpable, and you should be liable for more severe punishments compared to an ordinary employee. That's really common sense and there can be no question about that," he added.

As such, Mr Shanmugam said Parliament will amend the law and ensure that legislation provides for higher penalties for directors and other senior officers who commit criminal breaches of trust. Mr Shanmugam also called on members of the public not to “sink to the level of abuse, insult and contempt” as he is aware that netizens have voiced their dissatisfaction with the verdict.