It's no surprise that some stars vote for themselves when it comes to the popularity awards at the Star Awards. Heck, if we were a celeb, we would probably do it too. But now it seems Ch 8 host Lee Teng's credibility has been dragged through the mud for doing just that.
The actor, who has made the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste list five times, has been accused of rigging votes during the 2015 Star Awards. This revelation came to light during a trial against Lee Teng’s business partner, Lim Chit Foo, who is charged with cheating government subsidies amounting to $13.6mil of claims made under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme. He did so under the guise of buying software for his company Micbo Remix Jay Pte Ltd (MRJ). Lim has refused to plead guilty.
At the time of the incident, Lee Teng was the director of MRJ. But at present, he has no ties with the clothing company, and claims that he was unaware of any illegal activity.
On Nov 9 and 10, Lee Teng appeared in court as a police witness to be cross-examined by Lim’s lawyer. During the Nov 9 trial, Lee Teng’s name was dragged through the mud when Lim called into question the actor’s integrity. The defendant revealed that during the lead up to the 2015 Star Awards, Lee Teng had asked his friend to design software for him to go online and repeatedly vote for himself. Lim further alleged that Lee Teng wanted him to get a cell phone for his maid to make hundreds of calls to vote for him. In response, Lee Teng denied the allegations. He claimed that what he did wasn’t fraud, but part of the voting process. He also denied asking his friend to design said software. Instead, the host claimed that the other party had proposed going online to vote for him. Lee Teng added that Lim had suggested that the host make the calls himself, so the star arranged for his maid to do so on his behalf as he was too busy. Lee Teng also denied having asked Lim for a cell phone.
When we called the 33-year-old host to ask about the allegations, he said, “Those are all false. I feel quite helpless at some media reports that are based on the defense lawyer’s allegations. But it’s inconvenient for me to say anything, as the trial hasn’t ended. I can only wait till there’s a verdict before commenting on what was said [at the trial].”
Lim, a 34-year-old local businessman, was also charged for instigating four men and women, including Lee Teng, to bear false witness to the police sometime between last October and November with regards to the company’s application for government subsidies. Lim had reportedly asked Lee Teng to lie to the police that he had purchased a set of software relating to customer relationship management on behalf of MRJ, and to say that he had also personally seen the software being used in the company.
During the Nov 9 trial, the prosecution requested Lee Teng to present his conversation with Lim on WeChat. And the content revealed that after Lim was first called in by the police for questioning, he hurriedly urged Lee Teng to call him back. Their conversation also exposed that Lim instigated Lee Teng not to admit that he's the MRJ director, and to tell the police that he didn't know the other people involved. Lim also sent Lee Teng a document about a software, asking Lee Teng to remember that this was a product previously purchased by MRJ. During the trial, Lee Teng said that back then, it was his first time seeing the software. After that, during a phone call with Lim, he recorded their phone conversation. Unbeknownst to Lim, Lee Teng had already been called in by the police for questioning.
During the trial, the defense attorney accused Lee Teng of having registered fellow Ch 8 actors Zhang Zhenhuan and Yuan Shuai as MRJ employees and paid for their Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions, in order to raise headcount to meet the three-local-employee condition for the subsidies.
Lee Teng has denied the accusation. He claimed that Zhenhuan and Yuan Shuai needed the provident funds. So he proposed to the defendant to let them promote the company’s apparel. He claimed that thereafter, he left Lim to handle the case, and said that he was unaware that Lim had registered both Zhenhuan and Yuan Shuai’s names under the company.
Additionally, in response to Lee Teng’s claims that he was unaware about the fraud, Lim’s lawyer said that in the past, Lee Teng successfully obtained government subsidies for his clothing companies MRJ and Stage, and that part of the subsidies was applied online using Lee Teng’s Singpass. But Lee Teng claimed that he didn’t apply for the subsidies, and that he doesn’t know who applied for them. The actor added that he had shared his Singpass details with Lim in the past for other matters. However, he wasn’t sure if it was Lim who had used his Singpass to apply for the subsidies. He claimed that he only knew that Lim was going to apply for the subsidies under the company’s name but he didn’t ask for further details. Lim holds half of the shares in both MRJ and Stage. MRJ was founded in May 2015. And Lim had applied for the government subsidies in Nov 2015.
Lim faces a total of 39 charges, including 24 counts of fraud, eight counts of holding forged documents and seven counts of obstruction of justice. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, or a fine, or both.