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Kwa Kim Li grilled by Lim Tean on 38 Oxley Road and Lee Kuan Yew’s will

Madam Kwa invoked the doctrine of privilege several times when she was questioned

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Kwa Lim Li, the late Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer, appeared in court on Thursday (Dec 3) to answer questions on Mr Lee’s wills and house, 38 Oxley Road.

Mdm Kwa had to testify in court during a libel suit involving Terry Xu after failing to set aside a subpoena filed by the chief editor of The Online Citizen (TOC). Her attendance in court was her first public appearance since the start of the 38 Oxley Road saga.

On 14 June 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, made several allegations against their brother in a Facebook post, including accusing him of misleading their father into believing that his Oxley Road property had been gazetted.

PM Lee later filed a defamation suit against Mr Xu when the latter repeated the allegations on August 15 last year, in an article published on TOC titled “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members”.

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As part of the allegations, Mr Xu claimed Dr Lee said that her brother had persuaded the late Lee into thinking his property at 38 Oxley Road had been gazetted, leading their father into the conclusion that it was “futile” to keep the demolition clause in his will.

Mr Xu’s lawyer, Lim Tean asked Mdm Kwa to confirm that all the wills she had prepared for the late Lee contained a demolition clause in respect of 38 Oxley Road, except for the final two wills she prepared for him dated 20 September 2012 and 4 October 2012. She replied “yes”.

According to a yahoo!news article, Mr Lim continued, “In total, how many times did you search for whether 38 Oxley Road was gazetted and when did these searches take place?”

Mdm Kwa replied, “First time was around time of the email, I asked for my librarian to check for me. Second time I checked, I searched, it was perhaps a few days after I asked one of my colleagues, one of my lawyers, to check for me.”

When probed again on the number of times Mdm Kwa made the search, she said she could not remember but at least twice.

When Mr Lim then asked Mdm Kwa if she had informed the late Mr Lee every time she conducted the search, she said, “The answer would be privileged.”

She gave the same answer when asked about an email she sent to the late Lee on 2 October 2012, in which she apparently wrote, “Loong has free rein”.

“And the words ‘he can handle cabinet’, is that also reference to Lee Hsien Loong?” Mr Lim asked. To that, Mdm Kwa replied, “The answer would be privileged”.

At Justice Audrey Lim’s probing, she revealed that “he” referred to the prime minister.

PM Lee’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, said he had no questions for the witness.

With the end of the trial, both parties are expected to send written submissions to the court in January. /TISG

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