My Anthem

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Glen Knight -- if only you had served in Msia...Miracles could happen

and you would have been promoted instead. Caveat -- as long as you don't spill the beans on fellow colleagues who went for "higher sums" -- you only went for kacang putih by Msian standards. Add a "few zeroes" in your quantum/quanta and you would have been welcomed into the "inner circle".

Ah, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. So the Singapore system has teated you well too, and there is high price to pay to be a member of a good system.

Let me just wish you well. But this excerpt (highlighted thus BOLDED) doesn't sit well with Desi, but who am I to lecture thee, so I won't, just thinking allowed (which is still an occupational hazard worth defending among scribes here/hear, I don't know about SinGland!):~~

"I used to care for some people in my life. Now I care for everybody. ~~

VIA the Malaysia Chronicle:~~
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 13:34

Ex-S'pore bigwig Glenn Knight: Losing control was the hardest thing

(2 votes)

When Mr Glenn Knight, 67, read The Business Times on Wednesday morning, what came to his mind was another morning years ago which changed his life forever.

He, too, was once a powerful senior civil servant whose job was to enforce the law. He, too, was scrutinised by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

His name was again in the newspapers on Wednesday.

A report in The Straits Times about two top men at the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) being investigated by CPIB for serious personal misconduct mentioned him in passing.

The report cited the two men's case as one of the highest-level probes involving public servants since Mr Knight was convicted of graft in 1992 and 1998.

His response to his story being brought up again after so many years?

"Well, it doesn't really matter any more."

More than most, he knew what it was like to be powerful one moment and devastated the next.

And what it was like to fall from high public office, and left to pick up the pieces.

The Crash

That morning, 20 years ago, his life changed.

"Everything happened within a matter of hours," says Mr Knight, who is married without kids.

"Some men, whom I recognised to be part of the CPIB, came to my house and asked me to follow them."

Surrounded by piles of files and documents in his modest law office at Toa Payoh North, the man gradually opened up about his own experience of being investigated and prosecuted.

He is soft spoken and placid, a far cry from his fiery and uncompromising days as prosecutor and director of the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

When this reporter called him up, it was not with the CPIB arrests in mind.

Still, he was initially reluctant to speak of his past or be dragged back into the spotlight.

After some persuasion, however, he agreed to be interviewed.

Says lawyer Edmond Pereira, who has known Mr Knight since 1979: "He was a very good deputy public prosecutor. He had a good mind, was very detailed, and took his work very seriously.

"He wasn't easy for the defence counsel to deal with, very uncompromising even when he had to prosecute high-profile personalities."

Adds criminal lawyer Amolat Singh, who interacted with Mr Knight a couple of times in the mid-1990s: "He had a reputation of being a very meticulous and tenacious lawyer, leaving no stone unturned in his work."

In March 1991, Mr Knight was replaced by senior state counsel Lawrence Ang as director of the CAD.

It was a move which surprised many CAD officers, said news reports then.

He quickly came under investigation by the CPIB for attempting and conspiring to cheat, as well as for providing false statements.

Mr Knight says the first three months after the CPIB visited him at his home were the darkest days of his life.

"The most difficult part of the whole thing was losing control. Someone came and took away your life as it were," he says as the deep lines on his face crinkle into a wistful smile.

"They took me from my home to the CPIB, then back to my office. And there was somebody else sitting at my desk," he adds, describing the feeling as a strange and sinking one.

He was then 46, and had received a Public Administration Medal (Gold) at the National Day Honours the previous year.

The medal was later revoked, along with all his medical and pension benefits.

In October 1991, Mr Knight was sentenced to three months in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of attempted cheating and for giving false information to get a government car loan.

He later appealed and his sentence was reduced to a day in jail and a $17,000 fine.

He was struck off the rolls in 1994, which meant he was not allowed to practise law.

Mr Knight had not been able to get any meaningful employment in the three years before 1994, and had been relying on friends and relatives to help with living expenses, said his then lawyer, Mr Harry Elias.

In 1998, he was charged again - this time with another three counts of misappropriating CAD funds.

Eventually the court found him guilty of two charges, and fined him $10,000 and sent him to jail for a day.

After being debarred, he worked as a consultant for various firms, including a company which sold antiques.

His jobs yielded monthly incomes ranging between $4,000 to $10,000.

At his lowest point, which he describes as the years 2004 and 2005, he lived in a one-room flat in Chin Swee Road and his earnings dwindled to "almost nothing".

Of last week's news of the CPIB probe on the two senior civil servants, he says: "I'm much kinder now than I used to be, so when I read (the news), I thought to myself, I'll give them a chance.

He adds, after a pause: "I suppose when you get so high up the ranks, you don't think that you can make this mistake."

The Comeback

And what has it been like since then?

"He's been battered and steamrolled after what happened," says Mr Pereira. "And I admire him for his courage and determination to return to the same arena."

So what helped him through his darkest moments?

"It must have been God", replies Mr Knight.

A Christian, he adds that the ordeal deepened his faith and changed who he was.

He now lives with his wife, a writer, in a four-room flat in Tanglin Halt.

He is grateful that public attention on the case has waned through the years, and that he has been allowed to move on.

Still, it is clear that the events have left an indelible mark on his personality.

On the kind of man he was before he was investigated, he says: "I was such a strong person and I was only concerned about myself and nobody else, and everything I did was right..." he says, before trailing off.

After a pause, he adds: "You see, whenever I prosecuted anybody, I always made it a point to make sure he was guilty.

"I would spend a lot of time - sometimes close to a month - before deciding to charge him. And once I decided to charge him I would charge him all the way.

"And at that point in time, you sort of lose conception of what is right and what's wrong, you're so sure about what you're doing that you never think that you may be wrong."

Empathy comes more easily now, adds Mr Knight, who has learnt to "see people for who they really are".

"I used to care for some people in my life. Now I care for everybody.

"When someone comes to me now, I try to see what I can do for him. I see him as another person, instead of seeing him as a man who wants to do me in, or what he can do against me."

In 2007, he succeeded in getting reinstated to the bar.

It was, he says, "fantastic".

"The three judges gave me such a good judgment. I felt that they gave me a chance, that I could practise law again. I still feel good about it now," he says with a chuckle.

He recounts a case he took on after being reinstated. A woman came to him for help after her signature had been forged by a bank officer.

"I was amazed," he says. "I thought, how can anyone come to me with a problem like this?"

He adds that he was moved that she would approach a man who had once been convicted of cheating in a case of a forged signature.

Of the future, he says: "My wife would say I'll practise until I'm dead.

"Yes, I suppose you could say I love law. I love it for two things - being able to work with people, and being able to solve problems."

Outside of work, he looks forward to the trips he makes to Batam every weekend.

Having bought a house on the seafront in 1985, he still enjoys reading and tending to his fruit garden.

"I've had a good life, a really good life, even during the dark periods.

"Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't wish for others to go through what I did, but to come through it was important, " he says quietly.

Fall from grace, then back in place

March 1991: Senior state counsel Lawrence Ang replaces Mr Glenn Knight as director of the Commercial Affairs Department.

Two-month CPIB probe begins for Mr Knight. He is 46.

April 1991: He suffers a mild heart attack and is hospitalised.

May 1991: He is charged with eight counts of cheating, attempting to cheat, and giving false information.

July 1991: Mr Knight's wife, Madam Pathmavali Rengayah, and three others charged with conspiring with him to cheat.

Oct 1991: Mr Knight pleads guilty to two charges.

He is jailed for one day and fined $17,000, after appealing against the original sentence, which was three months in jail.

Then, he was assured of immunity, which meant that he would not be prosecuted further.

April 1992: Charges against Mr Knight's wife and three others are dropped.

Sept 1994: Mr Knight is struck off the rolls.

April 1998: Mr Knight charged with three counts of misappropriating CAD funds.

Sept 1998: He is found guilty on two counts of misappropriating a total of $2,720. He is jailed for a day and fined $10,000.

May 2007: Mr Knight's application to practise law again receives approval. He gets reinstated to the Bar. He is 62.

June 2007: Mr Knight joins law firm Bernard & Rada Law Corporation.

Oct 2007: Mr Knight makes his first appearance in court after a 16-year absence.

He represents former National Kidney Foundation (NKF) chairman Richard Yong's wife, On Shu Kio, who is fighting an injunction by the charity to seize her assets.

2010: Mr Knight sets up his own practice.

The New Paper


  • Comment Link susah soros Tuesday, 31 January 2012 23:21 posted by susah soros

    If he was smart, he would have done what the exNKF chairman did. Keep some files in secret so no one can "kill" you. Hence the exNKF chief got away with a mild sentence and plenty of money from a high paying job.

  • Comment Link Daun Keladi Tuesday, 31 January 2012 18:05 posted by Daun Keladi

    Kepada kita cerita ini macam air atas daun keladi.

DESIDERATA: Had I met Glen Knight and maybe understand him at a personal level, I would ELABORATE on this line which I highlighted: "

For now, I will LET IT BE, as the Beatles' anthem cautions Desi at momemnts of doubt and bewilderment.

No comments: