Court of Appeal Donation Update Five (5) – 22 August 2019

Total donations from 21 to 22 August@11.55 pm: $555.07

Thank you for your kindness. It is nearing the end of the campaign. I had aimed to raise the sum by 22 Aug, which is today, but I am only at the 25% mark ($5,000). Please help if you can. Any amount of donation will help me to get to my goal  if 15,000 people each give me $1, I would get there.

The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of $20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal.

NUS (National University of Singapore) has refused to waive the Security for Costs, in its attempt to block my appeal to the Court of Appeal.

With thanks,
Jeanne

Please read my appeal here:
Last Push To Obtain Justice – Urgent Appeal For Funds To Get To The Court Of Appeal 8 August 2019

Sincerely,
Jeanne

DONATION DETAILS

Paypal
tljvnus@gmail.com 


PayLah!
93884036

Bank
POSB 
Everyday Savings Account
193-69702-0

Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie
DBS Bank Pte Ltd
12 Marina Boulevard,
DBS Asia Central,
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3,
Singapore 018982
Singapore

Bank swift code:
DBSSSGSG

Branch code:
081 


Breakdown of Donation Sources
POSB Account
$419.34
Paylah!
-
Paypal
135.73

I set up a crowdfunding appeal on the “Go Get Funding” platform since 9 August 2019. The funds received from this crowdfunding platform are automatically rerouted to my POSB account and Paypal account. The rerouting to POSB typically takes several days. So I will count the funds as POSB funds when they are banked into the POSB account.

Court of Appeal Donation Update Four (4) – 20 August 2019

Total donations from 16 to 20 August@11.55 pm: $1841.15

Dear Friends,

Thank you to those of you who have responded to my donation appeal. I know some of the donors you are not wealthy but you have a generous spirit, thank you for your friendship and support.

I set up my donation appeal on 8 August 2019. The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of $20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal. I need to raise the $20,000 by 22 August.

NUS (National University of Singapore) has refused to waive the Security for Costs, in its attempt to block my appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Breakdown of Donation Sources
POSB Account
$1686.15
Paylah!
155.00
Paypal
-

I set up a crowdfunding appeal on the “Go Get Funding” platform since 9 August 2019. The funds received from this crowdfunding platform are automatically rerouted to my POSB account. The rerouting typically takes several days. So I will count the funds as POSB funds when they are banked into the POSB account.

Court of Appeal Donation Update Three (3) – 15 August 2019

Total donations from 13 to 15 August@6.30 pm: $780.00

Dear Friends,

I set up my donation appeal on 8 August 2019 on my blog followed by "Go Get Funding" crowdfunding platform the next day.

It has been slow today, but I know with your help I can surmount all difficulties. Please help me to get to the Court of Appeal to obtain justice.

The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of $20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal. I need to riase the $20,000 by 22 August.

NUS (National University of Singapore) has refused to waive the Security for Costs, in its attempt to block my appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Sincerely,
Jeanne

Breakdown of Sources
POSB Account
$780.00
Paylah!
-
Paypal
-

Separately, I received a total of $1331.00 from the “Go Get Funding” platform since 9 August 2019. The funds received from this crowdfunding platform are automatically rerouted to my POSB account. The rerouting typically takes several days. So I will count the funds as POSB funds when they are banked into the POSB account.

Court of Appeal Donation Update Two (2) – 12 August 2019

Total donations on 12 August@11.55 pm: $266.08


Dear Friends,

I set up my donation appeal on 8 August 2019 on my blog and later on the "Go Get Funding" crowdfunding platform. Thanks to those who have donated and those who have urged their friends to donate. Some of you I know who you are and others I don't know, but I am equally grateful to you.

The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of $20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal.

NUS (National University of Singapore) has refused to waive the Security for Costs, in its attempt to block my appeal to the Court of Appeal.

With thnaks,
Jeanne


Breakdown of Sources
POSB Account
$100.00
Paylah!
-
Paypal
95.80USD+S$27.43

Separately, I received $460.00 from the “Go Get Funding” platform. The funds received from this crowdfunding platform are automatically rerouted to my POSB account. The rerouting typically takes several days. So I will count the funds as POSB funds when they are banked into the POSB account.

Court of Appeal Donation Update One (1) – 11 August 2019

Total donations from 8 to 11 August@11.55 pm: $587.79

Dear Friends,

I set up my donation appeal on 8 August 2019 on my blog and later on the "Go Get Funding" crowdfunding platform. Many thanks to those who have responded. I am very happy to be able to interact with some of the donors. Hope this appeal will gain greater traction in the next few days. Once again, my gratitude to those who have stepped forward so quickly to lend a helping hand.

The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of $20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal.

NUS (National University of Singapore) has refused to waive the Security for Costs, in its attempt to block my appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Gratefully,
Jeanne


Breakdown of Sources
POSB Account
$244.64
Paylah!
$200.00
Paypal
$143.15

Separately, I received $170.00 from the “Go Get Funding” platform. The funds received from this crowdfunding platform are automatically rerouted to my POSB account. The rerouting typically takes several days. So I will count the funds as POSB funds when they are banked into the POSB account.

Last Push To Obtain Justice – Urgent Appeal For Funds To Get To The Court Of Appeal


8 August  2019

Dear friends,

Legal Battle with NUS – For the past 14 years, I have fought a tough battle against the National University of Singapore for the wrongful denial of my Master’s Degree. In 2012, I sued the university as a last resort. I am now trying to raise $20,000 for Security for Costs so that my lawsuit can be heard in the Court of Appeal.


Two years ago, donations from the public enabled me to pay a portion of the $11,000 of court hearing fee and send my case to trial instead of being thrown out by Court. I am now trying to raise $20,000 for Security for Costs so that my lawsuit can be heard in the Court of Appeal. 

To recap, here below is a brief summary of the past 14 years in which I had fought a tough battle against the National University of Singapore for wrongfully denying my MA degree, the sabotage of my PhD programme that I was then enrolled in in 2006, which cost me loss of career opportunities and loss of income. NUS destroyed my career.

In September 2006, NUS (National University of Singapore) expelled me from the university after refusing to confer me my Master of Arts Degree in retaliation for my whistle-blowing about misconduct by a professor at NUS, and my whistle-blowing about the subsequent cover-up. As a result of this expulsion by NUS, I had to leave a PhD course that I had already started in the United States. This destroyed my chances of pursuing a career in my field of expertise.

In August 2012, I was left with no other option except to turn to the courts to sue NUS, after two different NUS university presidents and the Ministry of Education all failed to help me despite my desperate appeals for help. If I didn't start the lawsuit against NUS by August 2012, my case would have been “time-barred” which means that I would have passed the deadline to take legal action.

NUS should have properly admitted its guilt, offered to make amends to me, and punished the wrongdoers. Instead, NUS spent more than $700,000 of public funds to hire lawyers to fight me every step of the way and protect the wrongdoers from the punishment they deserved. NUS fiercely resisted discovery of relevant documents, thereby dragging out the lawsuit and making it very costly for me. NUS could afford to use these attrition tactics against me, because NUS can use public funds (taxpayers’ dollars) to fight me in court. I ran out of money half-way through this lawsuit and had to resort to borrowing. NUS even tried to apply to Court to bankrupt me in 2015. 

In July 2017, I went public to raise funds for my legal fees after NUS successfully got the Court to issue me two ultimatums (Unless Orders) – to pay $11,000 within three days, failing which my legal case would be thrown out of court. By borrowing money and crowdfunding, I was able to raise the funds to send the case to trial.

In August 2017, the public trial of my case began in the High Court. The trial spanned a total of nine days from August 2017 to November 2017. I blogged about my 9-day trial and legal updates here:

In July 2018, the Court delivered its decision – I lost all my legal claims against NUS. This was despite the High Court finding that NUS was guilty of wrongdoing against me (see the quotations from the High Court’s written judgment below).

On 26 July 2019, the Court delivered its decision on costs – the High Court ordered me to pay $169,748.77 to NUS for the lawsuit (excluding “interlocutory” matters). NUS originally claimed $698,940.11 in legal costs and disbursements for the lawsuit (excluding “interlocutory” matters). This means that NUS claims that it spent at least $698,940.11 paying its lawyers from Drew & Napier to fight me in Court. Since NUS is a “public body” this money must have come from the taxpayers’ dollars.

I don’t know whether if NUS will appeal the cost award, given that the Court has awarded NUS less than a quarter of what NUS has claimed that it had spent in legal costs. Both sides have until 26 August 2019 to file a “Notice of Appeal.” NUS may also choose to bankrupt me as NUS has tried once in 2015 to enforce the cost orders made by Court. This is what NUS does to a student who has refused to allow NUS to cover up misconduct of one of its faculty members against the student.


Having considered the matter thoroughly, I have decided to appeal the High Court’s decision on costs, as well as the High Court's substantive judgment, to the Court of Appeal; but the problem is that, in Singapore, if you want to appeal to the Court of Appeal, you have to pay $20,000 for “Security for Costs.”  If you can’t afford to pay the $20,000, then the Court will not allow you to appeal. The Security for Costs is for the opposing party, which is NUS in my case, and the Security for Costs is separate from the thousands of dollars of court filing fees to be paid to the Court.

As far as I know, the Malaysian Court and the British Courts do not require (or require only minimal amounts for) this sort of security deposit. However, this is, sadly, the current position in Singapore. 

Now, in August 2019, I am resorting to crowdfunding again to raise $20,000 Security for Costs which is for the benefit of NUS, before the Court of Appeal would accept my application to hear my appeal. 

At the present moment, I have about 2 weeks to raise the $20,000 to appeal the Court’s decisions. I believe I have an arguable case, in fact a strong case, but I don’t have the sum of $20,000. I need to reach the target sum by 22 August 2019 (and file the Notice of Appeal latest by 26 August 2019).


Appealing to the Court of Appeal is probably the only way that I can avoid bankruptcy – or, at the very least, it is certainly the only way that I can possibly avoid a crushing financial burden in the form of the unfair costs order.

Why do I want to appeal?

Some people have asked me to give up taking NUS to the courts because they feel that I can never win a lawsuit against a Singapore public/government institution in Singapore. However, I will still go ahead with the appeal because I believe I have a strong case before the Court of Appeal.

The High Court judgment has already exposed and confirmed wrongdoing by NUS officers.

In the July 2018 written judgment, the High Court actually found NUS to be guilty of wrongdoing in the main facts of my case. (See the elaboration on this point in the next section below.) But the High Court did not find NUS to be guilty of “malice” or “deliberate” acts and, hence, the High Court did not hold NUS liable to me for expelling me from the university and destroying my career, despite the overwhelming documentary evidence that proves that the wrongful actions that NUS took against me were intentional, deliberate, premediated and carefully planned and executed by numerous high-ranking NUS officers.

In my case against NUS, NUS has consistently taken the legal position that I did not complete the requirements that were necessary for NUS to award me my Master’s degree. This is a lame excuse and a red herring. The fact is that I had successfully completed all of the requirements for my graduation and for the award of my Master’s Degree, including researching and writing a book-length Master’s thesis, and I had submitted the final version of my thesis to NUS on the deadline stipulated by NUS. The documentary evidence of letters and internal emails written by NUS officers, clearly prove that the real reason why NUS expelled me and denied me the award of my Master's degree, was that I refused to comply with demands that I drop my complaints about a professor’s misconduct (my thesis Supervisor), even after NUS sent me a letter that threatened me with expulsion if I refused to comply with the improper demands.  

On 13 May 2019, during the court hearing on Costs, the lawyer for NUS, in trying to convince the High Court judge to order me to pay NUS even more costs, told the judge that NUS had made an offer to me to award me my Master’s degree in 2017. (Refer to an extract of the Court Transcript recorded on 13 May 2019 below.)

In other words, NUS has finally (in effect) admitted in Court in 2019 that it had withheld my MA degree despite the fact that I had already earned the degree in 2006! 




Extract of the Court Transcript recorded on 13 May 2019 (“Chia” refers to NUS’ counsel)

The High Court judgment appears to be that what NUS did to me is wrongful but NUS is not legally liable to me in the eyes of the law. With all due respect to the High Court, this is absolutely absurd. I will try to ask the Court of Appeal to reverse the costs order. The actions of NUS are “disgraceful” and deserving of “moral condemnation.

I filed my Notice of Appeal to appeal the High Court’s judgment to the Court of Appeal on 8 August 2018, which was before the deadline; but, the Court has unjustly denied me my legal right to appeal, despite the fact that the right to appeal is supposedly a legal right that belongs to every Singaporean. The Court denied me my legal right to appeal on the grounds that I was unable to pay the $20,000 for “Security for Costs” for the appeal.  Now that the High Court has issued a decision on costs, I have another opportunity to be heard by the Court of Appeal, but first I have to raise the $20,000 for “Security for Costs” before the deadline.   

Your donation will help me to ask the Court of Appeal to hear my appeal of the High Court's judgment, amongst other issues including the issue on costs.

Please donate generously to my crowdfunding appeal, so that my case can be heard in the Court of Appeal. Thank you.


For those of you who are still interested in the details of my case after reading this far, you can continue reading the text below, after the donation details. Please donate to my crowdfunding appeal.

Paypal
tljvnus@gmail.com 


PayLah!
93884036

Bank
POSB Everyday Savings Account 193-69702-0

Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie

DBS Bank Pte Ltd
12 Marina Boulevard,
DBS Asia Central,
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3,
Singapore 018982
Singapore

Bank swift code:
DBSSSGSG

Branch code:
081 




In early 2017, before my case went to public trial, I complained to the Minister of Law regarding NUS, but the Minister of Law just forwarded my complaint to the Ministry of Education, which I had already approached for help in 2011. I dutifully followed up by sending several more emails to the Ministry of Education in early 2017.  Despite all of my written reminders, the Ministry of Education just repeatedly lied to me in writing that it would look into my complaint and get back to me, but it never did.  So much for asking the government for help. I emphasise this point, because some people who hear about my case still tell me to try asking the government for help.

The High Court’s findings that NUS was wrong 

Here below is the link to the High Court’s official written judgment for my lawsuit, that was issued on 9 July 2018

I highlight the following paragraphs from the High Court’s written judgment at paragraphs [229], [230], [233] and [234]:

[229] More importantly, it was wrong of VP Kong [NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong] to impose the first part of the Acceptance requirement as a condition for awarding the Degree…

[230] In the action, the Plaintiff focussed on the second part of the Acceptance requirement, ie, to require the Plaintiff to accept the decision of the COI on the plagiarism issue, as constituting deliberate conduct. VP Kong [NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong] admitted in cross-examination that it would not be correct for her to impose such a condition but she did not accept that she had in fact imposed such a condition on the Plaintiff. As I have mentioned above, she did impose that condition. I also conclude that it was wrong of her to do so.
[Emphasis added in bold]

… …

[233] The 11 August 2006 letter had asked the Plaintiff to confirm that she accepted the “University’s decisions and will therefore, (a) comply with the uploading requirement as well as (b) cease your correspondence regarding the contents of your email of 27 November 2005”. In my view, the letter did require the Plaintiff to cease her correspondence with NUS about the contents of her 27 November 2005 email. This was clearly stated in the letter. I am also of the view that the letter suggested that this was a condition she had to accept in order to obtain the Degree.

[234] Since the Plaintiff was not obliged to accept the COI’s decision on the plagiarism issue, she was also not obliged to cease correspondence on the issue. Therefore, I am also of the view that VP Kong [NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong] was also wrong to impose the Cessation of Correspondence requirement that the Plaintiff had to accept in order to obtain the Degree.
[Emphasis added in bold]

(A copy of the 11 August 2006 letter referred to in paragraph [233] above is exhibited below.)

I am glad that the High Court has (if nothing else) at least confirmed that NUS was guilty of wrongdoing when NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong imposed upon me the following two conditions as new graduation requirements to get my MA Degree:
(i)     stop complaining about how the university had mishandled my complaint regarding my thesis Supervisor on the issue of his plagiarism of my thesis and/or my research findings.
(ii)     accept the University’s decision on the clearance of my Supervisor’s name regarding my complaint (in other words, accept the university’s cover-up of Dr Wong Yunn Chii’s misconduct).

However, NUS still managed to get away scot-free in spite of the above findings and also other findings, such as NUS withholding (from me) the actual outcome of the Committee of Inquiry (“COI”) that NUS set up to investigate my complaints against Dr Wong Yunn Chii.  The NUS COI issued a secret report that recommended that Dr Wong be “censured,” but NUS refused to let me see this secret report, and NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong deliberately deceived and misled me to believe that the COI had completely exonerated Dr Wong. The Court found that NUS should have conveyed the full outcome of the investigation to me, and that the cover-up “saved some face for Dr Wong, as stated in the written judgment for my lawsuit, at paragraphs [153] and [155].

In fact, internal emails show that officers in NUS who helped to orchestrate my expulsion were aware that what they were doing to me was wrongful and done with the knowledge that it was ultra vires their power. Unfortunately, the Court’s written judgment failed to consider some of the relevant emails and went on to make untenable conclusions.

For example, the High Court’s written judgment omits any mention of the evidence of an incriminating internal NUS email which proves that NUS officers knew that they had no right to expel me, and that they were afraid of getting into “trouble” for orchestrating the expulsion.  On 29 August 2006, NUS Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye sent an email about my expulsion to NUS Registrar Ang Siau Gek. In this email, Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye asked NUS Registrar Ang Siau Gek: “do you have a sense of what trouble we are to anticipate for this”. The word “trouble” in this email proves that Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye knew that what she and her accomplices were doing to me was wrong, ultra vires the power conferred to them as public officers, and illegal, and that they all deserved to get in trouble for what they were doing to me.  Obviously, if NUS Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye had honestly believed that what NUS officers were doing were proper and legal, she wouldn’t have made such a comment. 

About forty-five minutes later on the same afternoon (of 29 August 2006), NUS Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye sent another email, this time to NUS “Senior Administrative Officer” Lau Ai Lee.  In this email, NUS Deputy Registrar Chan Ng Chye wrote: “Seems LK [Lily Kong] is really jittery over this case.”  This observation by one of Lily Kong's accomplices, that Lily Kong was “really jittery” about her orchestration of my expulsion, is first-hand evidence of Lily Kong's “guilty mind” since Lily Kong's “really jittery” demeanour is clearly inconsistent with an honest belief in the correctness of what she (Lily Kong) was doing to me – that is, orchestrating my expulsion from NUS because I refused to submit to her threats and drop my complaints regarding Dr Wong Yunn Chii’s misconduct and the university’s cover-up of Dr Wong’s misconduct. 

While the “really jittery” email is mentioned briefly in the High Court’s written judgment (at paragraphs [236]-[237]), there is no mention at all of the preceding “trouble” email (quoted above) in the written judgment.  The High Court apparently took no notice of the “trouble” email, and the High Court judge interpreted the “jittery” email in a way that makes absolutely no logical sense at all.  At paragraph [237], the High Court’s written judgment states that: “it is not surprising that VP Kong [Lily Kong] felt jittery. From her point of view, she had acted reasonably with a good outcome for the Plaintiff but the Plaintiff was still not satisfied.” 

This was not even a defence put up by NUS, but the judge’s own unsubstantiated interpretation!

Remember, the date when Lily Kong was observed to be “really jittery” was just a few days before NUS expelled me, at a time when Lily Kong and her accomplices were making the preparations for my expulsion, as shown by the evidence of a number of internal emails that they were sending each other at that time.  Obviously, people do not feel “really jittery” because they do the right thing.  Obviously, the real reason why Lily Kong was “really jittery” about my case at that time, was that Lily Kong knew that what she was doing to me was wrong, and she was afraid that she could get in “trouble” – and this is supported by the “trouble” email (quoted above), which was sent on the same day, by the same officer  who wrote the “really jittery” comment.   

I strongly believe that I have a strong case to put up before the Court of Appeal, both for my appeal of the High Court’s decision to order me to pay NUS $169,748.77 for “costs” and disbursements, as well as the High Court’s substantive judgment. The nature of my case is such that there is a great deal of factual and legal “overlap” between what’s wrong with the High Court’s substantive judgment, and what’s wrong with the High Court’s decision to order me to pay NUS $169,748.77.

Please help me to obtain justice by donating to my appeal for donations for the Security for Costs funds.

Justice comes with an expensive price tag in Singapore*

Theoretically the right to appeal is a basic legal right protected by the Singapore Constitution. Supposedly, every Singaporean has an automatic legal right to appeal to the Court of Appeal. (See, for example, the decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal in IW v IX [2005] SGCA 48 at [22], which says that an appeal is “a matter of right.” However, in actual practice, the Court of Appeal will refuse to hear appeals by Singaporeans who are unable to afford to pay $20,000 for “Security for Costs.” This is the situation that I’ve found myself in. The Court has informed me that it has no power to waive this Security requirement, but the Court has given NUS, the opposing party in my lawsuit the power to waive this requirement because the Security deposit is for NUS! 


This legal process is not just expensive. Worse, it is an unfair process in which the power to decide whether or not one can appeal to the Court of Appeal is placed in the hands of the opposing party! 

Of course, NUS blocked my effort to appeal (NUS has said “No” to my request for a waiver of the $20,000.)  Now, I have a narrow window of opportunity during which I can file the “Notice of Appeal” to appeal the costs order to the Court of Appeal.  This may be my last (and only) chance to ask the Court of Appeal to hear me – but I need your help to raise the funds for the Security deposit for “Security for Costs” before I can appeal.

It is ironic that while even murderers and rapists are allowed to appeal their convictions, yet I cannot exercise my legal right to appeal, despite the fact that this right of appeal supposedly belongs to every Singaporean.  I am the victim of abuse of power and retaliation by NUS; I am a law-abiding citizen whose only “crime” was that I stood up to injustice and I refused to drop my complaints about misconduct and cover-up, even after NUS officers had threatened me in writing.  (See, for example, the text of the threatening letter that NUS Vice-Provost Lily Kong sent me, quoted in the High Court’s written judgment at paragraph [185]).

What is the point of a legal right of appeal that is supposedly guaranteed to every Singaporean by law, when there is in practice an upfront premium tied to this legal right? Should the appellant not be able to pay the sum of $20,000, she essentially has no right to appeal. This is especially appalling since my case is a matter of public interest, involving institutional wrongdoing by a public body, including dishonesty, abuse of power, cover-up, and retaliation against a whistle-blower.  

The Court of Appeal frequently reverses the decisions of lower courts, so wouldn’t handing the power to determine whether an appellant can appeal a legal case to the respondent potentially lead to a miscarriage of justice? As already mentioned, to the best of my knowledge, the Malaysian Court and the British Courts do not require (or only require a minimal amount for) this sort of security deposit. This shows that this Singapore practice is not consistent with other common law jurisdictions.

NUS is a public institution funded by tax dollars. As a public institution, should NUS be allowed to continue to protect those of its officers who have already been found guilty of wrongdoing in the High Court? Should NUS be allowed to prevent justice from running its full course? Who or what entity is NUS answerable to – the protection of its own dishonest public officers or full and total accountability to the public in the name of public interest?

Some of you might say: “Wait a minute, even NUS has the right to defend itself against a lawsuit.”  While that it technically true, that does NOT mean that NUS has the right to spend $698,940.11 in public funds to protect wrongdoers from justice, when NUS knows that they have done wrong (as in my case).  NUS is also a “public body” which is funded by “public funds” (ie, the taxpayers’ dollars), and NUS professors and administrators are all “public officers” in the eyes of the law, since their salaries are paid for by public funds.  Therefore, NUS and all of its officers owe “public duties” to the people of Singapore, and they are entrusted with a “public trust” to use the authority and public funds entrusted to them ONLY for proper purposes, and NOT for improper purposes, such as protecting wrongdoers from punishment and/or “loss of face” or retaliating against whistle-blowers.  In fact, NUS and its officers have a “public duty” to fire wrongdoers, and to report the wrongdoers to the proper authorities.

*The high cost of justice has been acknowledged by the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who has remarked that: “the cost of legal services in Singapore must now be acknowledged as being on the high side” and His Honour also noted that: “It is cold comfort to those who seek justice to say that we have a great legal system, if it is priced out of their reach.” 
(Source: “Opening Address of the Honourable the Chief Justice at the Litigation Conference 2013” Organised by the Civil Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore, 31 January 2013.)

Please help me to obtain justice from the Court of Appeal 

NUS originally claimed $698,940.11 in legal costs and disbursements from me for the lawsuit (excluding “interlocutory” matters). The High Court has ordered me to pay NUS $169,748.77. Although the High Court has ordered me to pay NUS less than a quarter of what NUS had originally claimed, it is nevertheless unjust that I have to pay any money to NUS at all given the High Court’s findings that NUS is guilty of wrongdoing. This is what you get for “blowing the whistle” and standing up to injustice in Singapore. 

In carrying through with its threat to withhold my MA degree in September 2006, NUS sabotaged my PhD course which I had already begun in August 2006 in the United States, and in doing so, NUS sabotaged my entire academic and professional career. (I had to withdraw from my PhD programme because I did not have the MA degree from NUS.) The abuse of power by NUS destroyed my career, because a PhD is the basic required qualification for a career in my field of expertise. The sabotage of my American PhD by NUS destroyed my career in the same way that, for example, taking a taxi driver’s driving licence away from him would destroy his career as a taxi driver. This could amount to millions of dollars in lost income over the course of my entire career. For example, in 2013, it was publicly revealed and reported that NUS paid one former associate professor $225,000 per year.  At that rate, an NUS professor would earn $2.25 million dollars in ten years.

It is arguable that NUS has misappropriated more than $700,000 of public funds (at least $698,940.11 that NUS paid its lawyers for the cost of trial, plus additional legal fees for interlocutory matters claimed by NUS) for the improper purpose of fighting a legal battle to protect from justice and punishment, the wrongdoers who abused their power, covered up misconduct, and retaliated against a whistle-blower. For a “public body” like NUS to improperly use public funds to protect wrongdoers from punishment (instead of properly admitting guilt, making amends and punishing the wrongdoers) is clearly a flagrant breach of public trust and a “wrong use” of the taxpayers’ dollars that have been entrusted to NUS. Such a “wrong use” clearly constitutes “misappropriation” according to the legal definition of “misappropriation” provided by former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, who defined “misappropriation” as “to set apart or assign to the wrong person or wrong use” in Tan Tze Chye v PP [1997] 1 SLR(R) 876 at [37], quoted in Goh Kah Heng v PP [2010] SGHC 167 at [44] and in Phang Wah v PP [2011] SGHC 251 at [48].  

This is a national scandal! If NUS officers can get away scot-free with such abuses while I am actually ordered by the Court to pay a fortune to NUS, then ANY public body in Singapore can get away with doing these things as well, to ANY Singaporean who “blows the whistle” on cover-up and abuse of power!  My case could embolden other dishonest public officers and public bodies to abuse their power, cover up wrongdoing and retaliate against whistle-blowers. 

The individual “VP Kong” who is mentioned in paragraph [230] of the High Court’s judgment, which is quoted above, is Professor Lily Kong. She was formerly an NUS Vice-Provost and formerly an NUS Vice-President; she was promoted to President of Singapore Management University in January 2019 after she has been exposed in Court for her wrongful conduct. She is also a Member of the Public Service Commission. Lily Kong was one of the “leaders” at NUS, who orchestrated the retaliation by NUS against me, including my expulsion from NUS after I blew the whistle against wrongdoing by Dr Wong Yunn Chii. She also lied about the outcome of the COI investigation to “save face” for Dr Wong.  It is manifestly unfair and unjust that dishonest public officers such as Lily Kong get away scot-free for their misconduct and get promoted to higher public office positions, while I am penalised for their wrongdoing.


Here below is the threatening letter issued by then Vice-Provost Lily Kong on 11 August 2006. This letter is dated just two days after she was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Silver) at the 2006 National Day Award. Someone once highlighted to me that Lily Kong had already admitted her guilt and wrongdoing when she wrote: “While the scholarship monies that had been paid to you will ordinarily be recoverable by the university, NUS is prepared to waive this out of goodwill…” in the third paragraph of the letter of 11 August 2006. Indeed, if I had failed to complete my MA Degree requirements, NUS would have a good reason and a duty to go after me to recover the “scholarship monies” already paid to me in the form of monthly stipends etc., instead of throwing away the value of the NUS scholarship. The “scholarship monies” did not belong to Lily Kong and were not hers to give away freely. They were taxpayer dollars.  

I have addressed the main content of Lily Kong’s threatening letter in the third paragraph of this letter of 11 August 2006 above,  including the Court’s confirmation that Lily Kong was wrong in forcing me to “accept” the university's decisions about my complaints against Dr Wong, and that Lily Kong was also wrong to try to force me to “cease [my] correspondence.” 

I should also like to add that her statement in the second paragraph of the letter of 11 August 2006: “It is therefore unclear from your protestations, your amendments to your thesis, and your refusal to comply with the uploading requirement, whether you accept or reject the examination process” is a red herring. It was a fault-finding exercise to use my MA Degree as collateral to manipulate me to agree to stop complaining about Dr Wong’s plagiarism and to drop my subsequent complaint that Lily Kong had tried to cover-up for Dr Wong following Lily Kong’s refusal to provide details about the secret COI Report. Paragraph [228] of the High Court written judgment decided that: “it was not really necessary to require the express confirmation [of the Plaintiff, i.e., my confirmation] since it was quite clear from the Plaintiff’s conduct that she had accepted the examination process. After all, she had amended and submitted her amended thesis, as required.” Paragraph [231] of the High Court written judgment decided that: “It was open to the Plaintiff to disagree with the decision of the COI on the plagiarism issue and yet accept the outcome of the examination process. The two were not as inextricably linked as VPKong had thought at the material time.” I had in fact pointed out in writing to Lily Kong that she was wrong to link the two issues, but Lily Kong did not respond to me and proceeded to get NUS to expel me from the university.

Your donation will help me to try to obtain justice by appealing the costs order and the substantive judgment to the Court of Appeal.  “Elites” such as Lily Kong who are given power and authority to exercise public functions must be held accountable when they abuse their power. They must not be allowed to get away scot-free, with zero accountability and total impunity, as if they are “above the law.” If the Court of Appeal reverses the High Court’s decision and if the Court of Appeal decides that NUS is legally liable for its wrongful actions, then there will be public pressure to hold the wrongdoers accountable for their wrongful actions. 

The wrongful public officers must indemnify NUS the legal fees which NUS are paying to its lawyers to protect the wrongful conduct of the NUS officers, especially since the High Court has already confirmed wrongdoing by Lily Kong. 

Please donate to see justice restored and to see the rule of law.

Donation Details 

Paypal
tljvnus@gmail.com 


PayLah!
93884036


Bank
POSB Everyday Savings Account 193-69702-0

Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie

DBS Bank Pte Ltd
12 Marina Boulevard,
DBS Asia Central,
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3,
Singapore 018982
Singapore

Bank swift code:
DBSSSGSG

Branch code:
081 


Credit Card:
https://gogetfunding.com/final-push-to-obtain-justice-urgent-appeal-for-funds-to-get-to-the-court-of-appeal-2/


I would be updating the donations I collect regularly on this blog. Should I be able to raise more than $20,000, I would be using the funds for Court of Appeal filing fees and other Court fees. I would also use the funds to pay for legal advice on individual legal points because I cannot afford to pay lawyers for legal representation.

No Money, No Court Appeal While SMU President Lily Kong Gets Away Scot-free With Lying About NUS COI

27 May 2019

Dear friends,

It’s been some time since my last blog, and I have a lot to catch up on in this blog.

Thank you all for your concern and requests for updates. Your continued support means a lot to me. In recent months, I have suffered a great deal of stress and aggravation, as NUS has exerted a great deal of pressure on me to stop me from appealing the NUS case to the Court of Appeal. In addition, a law firm that I had previously engaged from late 2012 to early 2014, when I still had money to pay lawyers, tried to take advantage of the loss of my High Court case and my inability to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

My current attempts to appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am now (in 2019) continuing to try to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which I have a legal right to do, but NUS is now doing everything it can to block me from appealing to the Court of Appeal. Is NUS afraid to face me before the Court of Appeal?

I blogged about the steps that I have taken to initiate an appeal of Suit 667/2012 to the Court of Appeal dated 31 December 2018

To summarise, I filed the necessary papers (the “Notice of Appeal”) on 8 August 2018 for the appeal, but my Notice of Appeal was rejected because I could not afford to furnish the $20,000 Security for Costs (security deposit) for the benefit of NUS.

I was frantic and lost. Since I did not have a lawyer anymore, I sought pro-bono advice in the Community Justice Centre located in the Singapore State Courts.

On the advice of the pro bono lawyer, I filed an Application to the Court of Appeal for a dispensation or waiver of the Security for Costs and an extension of time to refile the Notice of Appeal out of time, in an Originating Summons that I filed with the Court of Appeal (“OS to CA”) on 31 December 2018.

My application to the Court of Appeal in the Originating Summons that I filed on 31 December 2018 contained two prayers:
(a) an application for an extension of time to file the Notice of Appeal out of time, and
(b) an application for a waiver of the Security for Costs (in plain English, the security deposit for the appeal).

A catch 22 situation (1-15 January 2019)

After filing the Originating Summons with the Court of Appeal on 31 December 2018, I received a notification that the Court had rejected my application.

I wrote to the Supreme Court Registry to ask about the reason for the rejection.

On 15 January 2019, the Court responded that the Court rejected my “OS to CA” (Originating Summons to the Court of Appeal) because I did not furnish a Security for Costs (security deposit) for the “OS to CA.” In other words, the Court told me that it will not hear me at all, unless I can afford to deposit thousands of dollars as a “security deposit.”

I was stunned!!!  As a citizen of Singapore, I supposedly have a legal right to appeal. What good is it that Singaporean citizens supposedly have a legal right to appeal, if the Court can deny me my right to appeal just because I cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for a security deposit? I am now trapped in a vicious cycle – in order to get the Court of Appeal to be willing to hear my application to waive the $20,000 Security for Costs, I have to pay yet another set of Security for Costs...

There are now two sets of security deposits which I have to pay in order for me to be heard by the Court of Appeal:
(i) the Security for Costs accompanying the Notice of Appeal dated 8 August 2018 (SG $20,000)
(ii) the Security for Costs accompanying the Originating Summons to the Court of Appeal dated 31 December 2018 (SG$?)

I still do not have any idea how much is needed for the 2nd set of security deposit, but I believe the two sets will add up to a maximum of SG$40,000.

It looks like there is no way for me to ever get out of this vicious cycle. Except with money. Only money can clear the way to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Is it fair that the wrongdoer (NUS) gets to be the gatekeeper to decide whether or not I can have access to justice (15 January to 1 March 2019)?

Incredibly, the Court has actually given NUS the power to decide whether or not I will be allowed to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In the Court’s reply to me on 15 January 2019, the Court Registry also stated that I consider asking NUS “not to insist on the provision of any security for costs in respect of [my] purported application to the Court of Appeal.


<extract from the letter from the Court Registry on 15 January 2019>

It is manifestly unfair that NUS, the wrongdoer, has the power to determine whether or not my appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal, due to the fact that I am “impecunious,” in the sense that I cannot afford to make the payments for the Security for Costs. 

The reason that I am now “impecunious” is due to wrongdoing by NUS, which had sabotaged my career, and the funds that I had managed to save have been spent on my efforts to obtain justice through legal proceedings these seven (7) years. 

Thus, the Court system is now allowing NUS to benefit from its own wrongdoing. NUS caused me to become “impecunious” after NUS destroyed my career, and now (in 2019) the Court system
 has  allowed NUS to take advantage of my impecuniosity and block me from appealing to the Court of Appeal. 

It is very telling that the High Court (per Justice Woo Bih Li) has now officially found that NUS and Vice-Provost Lily Kong were “wrong” in my case – since Lily Kong was acting in the name of NUS in my case, the Court’s findings that Lily Kong was “wrong” means that the Court also found that NUS was “wrong” too. So, this wrongdoing by NUS and Lily Kong is now no longer “alleged” or a mere “allegation.” Instead, it is an established fact, confirmed by the High Court.
Regarding the Court's findings that NUS was “wrong” see Judgment for High Court Suit 667/2012 at paragraphs [229]-[231], [234] and [241].

I am also puzzled because the pro-bono lawyer in the Community Justice Centre had advised me that there was indeed a legal precedent for the Court to waive the Security for Costs. That was why he told me to file the OS to CA. That was why he told me to file the Originating Summons with the Court of Appeal, which I did on 31 December 2018. 

When I read the Court Registry’s letter dated 15 January 2019, I realised that it was totally unfair, and I did not think it is right that NUS gets to be the gatekeeper for my access to the Court of Appeal, or that the Court system would give NUS that power, but out of respect for the Court, I wrote to NUS to make the request to not insist on the Security for Costs.

NUS said “no.” I was not surprised at all.

It has finally come to this stage – due to my inability to furnish SG$20,000 to SG$40,000 to make two security deposits for the benefit of NUS, I would not be able to appeal my case no matter how legitimate my claims might be.

The cost hearing (13 May 2019)

On 11 January 2019, an NUS lawyer wrote to me to seek clarification regarding the contents of my blog dated 31 December 2018, specifically, my intention to appeal the High Court judgment. I informed the NUS lawyer that indeed, I wanted to appeal. The very next day (16 January 2019), after receiving my reply, the NUS lawyer wrote to Court to ask for a date to be fixed for the Cost Hearing for Suit 667 of 2012 on the grounds that there was no appeal forthcoming and so the Court should go ahead with a hearing to decide the cost to award NUS. A first cost hearing was eventually fixed and heard in May, but it could not be completed because NUS failed to prepare the cost breakdown. I will update in my next post about the hearing on costs.

I will update in my next post about the hearing on costs. The main issue regarding costs is that NUS has been pushing the Court to have the costs hearing. Although NUS had asked for almost $700,000 in costs leading up to the hearing on 13 May 2019 – NUS reduced the sum and asked for $400,000 legal fees during the hearing. This amount would certainly bankrupt me. However, it must be kept in mind that NUS might still appeal against the High Court's costs order, and NUS could ask the Court of Appeal to order me to pay a larger amount.

Where is justice for impecunious people?


I return to the issue of justice for impecunious people.

As I have mentioned, I was stunned by the Supreme Court’s suggestion that I write to NUS to ask NUS not to insist on the security deposit. It’s unfair that, even though I have a strong case for appeal to the Court of Appeal, the defendant NUS, which has been found by the High Court to have been guilty of wrongdoing, gets to decide whether or not the Court of Appeal will hear my application, simply because I cannot afford to pay for the Security for Costs for my applications to the Court for the benefit of NUS.

Regarding the Court's findings that NUS was “wrong” see Judgment for High Court Suit 667/2012 at paragraphs [229]-[231], [234] and [241].


The idea of allowing NUS to decide whether or not I can appeal to the Court of Appeal, which is precisely what the Court has done, resembles the plot of an absurd fictional story, such as Franz Kafka's books Der Prozess (translated as The Trial) and Das Schloss (translated as The Castle). It is shocking that something like this could happen in Singapore today.


The Court Registry's rejection of my applications because I could not afford to pay the “Security for Costs,” and the Court Registry's suggestion that I write to NUS, are inconsistent with “the over-arching principle that an impecunious claimant must not be denied access to the courts, even if this would result in injustice to a successful defendant who may be unable to recover his legal costs.” This is a legal principle that has been endorsed by the Singapore Court of Appeal in Ho Wing On Christopher and Others v ECRC Land Pte Ltd (in liquidation) [2006] SGCA 25 at [70]. In the same judgment, the Court of Appeal observed (at [71]) that: “it is trite law that poverty is no bar to a litigant who is a natural person.” What good are these high-sounding “principles,” if the Court rejects an application because the impecunious applicant cannot afford to pay the “Security for Costs?”

What is the point of the Court promising that “an impecunious claimant must not be denied access to the courts” if that access is made dependent upon the applicant first obtaining the permission of the opposing party, who has already been found to be a wrongdoer?

Although I have an automatic legal right of appeal against the High Court’s decision, my lack of funds has become an impediment in my pathway to justice. This is especially appalling since my case is a matter of public interest, involving institutional wrongdoing by a public body including dishonesty, corruption, abuse of power, cover-up, and retaliation against a whistle-blower by NUS.

The extra efforts that I have to put in, the second application that I had to file with the Court in order to appeal to the Court of Appeal (the OS to CA), and the difficulties I've encountered along the way, underscore how tedious and difficult it is for ordinary Singaporeans who do not have the financial resources to seek justice in court.

The Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon has observed that, in “the pathway to justice for most litigants” the “first and probably the most critical hurdle is the high cost of litigation.” Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon has also observed that “the cost of legal services in Singapore must now be acknowledged as being on the high side” and noted that: “It is cold comfort to those who seek justice to say that we have a great legal system, if it is priced out of their reach.

(Source: Opening Address of the Honourable the Chief Justice at the Litigation Conference 2013 Organised by the Civil Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore 31 January 2013)

This whole episode has caused me to suffer a sense of despair – what is a “legal right” which is in actual practice, an entitlement that is contingent upon having the wealth to gain access to that “legal right?”


The Court has denied me my legal right to appeal

Supposedly, every Singaporean has a legal right to appeal, but my case shows that the Singapore court system has allowed this right to appeal to operate only in tandem with privileged circumstances and stifle the right of appeal of Singaporeans like me who are suffering from financial distress and impecuniosity.

The legal right of all Singaporeans to appeal has been repeatedly endorsed by the Singapore Court of Appeal in several written judgments. For example, in Virtual Map (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Singapore Land Authority [2009] 2 SLR(R) 558 at paragraph [30], the Singapore Court of Appeal noted “the principle that there should be one tier of appeal as of right in civil actions in Singapore. Unsuccessful litigants in such cases should be entitled to appeal as of right to the Court of Appeal.” The Singapore Court of Appeal noted that there is “one tier of appeal as a matter of right” in its written judgment in IW v IX [2005] SGCA 48 at paragraph [22]. More recently, the Singapore Court of Appeal noted that “any judgment or order of the High Court is ordinarily appealable as of right” (Sinwa SS (HK) Co Ltd v Nordic International Ltd [2014] SGCA 63 at paragraph [32].

How do the statements quoted above square with my helplessness in attempting to gain access to the Court of Appeal? 


Does my case make a mockery of the rule of law?

The right to appeal is an ancient legal right, which has been enshrined in the common law for centuries. As Lord Chief Justice Sir John Pratt said nearly three hundred years ago: 
“It is the glory and happiness of our excellent constitution, that to prevent any injustice no man is to be concluded by the first judgment; but that if he apprehends himself to be aggrieved, he has another Court to which he can resort for relief; for this purpose the law furnishes him with appeals…” (The King v The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge (“Doctor Bentley’s Case”) (1723) 1 Str 557 at pages 564-565; 93 ER 698 at pages 702-703). English common law is part of Singapore law today, according to a Singapore statute called the “Application of English Law Act” which was enacted in Singapore in 1993, which says that “The common law of England … shall continue to be part of the law of Singapore.”

Therefore, the quotation from “Doctor Bentley’s Case,” which became part of the common law in England almost three hundred years ago, is still part of the common law in Singapore today. In “Doctor Bentley’s Case,” Cambridge University wrongfully deprived the plaintiff’s university degrees, much like NUS wrongfully denied me the award of my Master of Arts degree. In “Doctor Bentley’s Case,” the Court of King’s Bench ordered Cambridge University to restore Doctor Bentley’s degrees to him.

To anyone who says that I should ask the government to help me, let me remind you that I wrote to the Ministry of Education several times, starting from 2011, and most recently in 2017. The only result was that the Ministry of Education told me to go crawl back to NUS and beg NUS to let me have my degree. That was in 2011, after I enlisted the assistance of my Member of Parliament, who wrote to the Ministry of Education and asked the Ministry to launch a “formal inquiry” against NUS. The last time I wrote to the Ministry of Education was in 2017, and the only result was that the Ministry of Education repeatedly said that it was looking into my case and would get back to me, while refusing to provide any updates, and eventually the Ministry of Education ignored my requests for updates totally. It is now clear that the Ministry of Education lied to me in writing, since the Ministry obviously never had any intention of writing back to me, and the Ministry has not contacted me since 2017.

This is the same Ministry that promoted Lily Kong to the rank of President of Singapore Management University in January 2019, which was AFTER the High Court found that Lily Kong was guilty of wrongdoing, and AFTER Lily Kong lied in Court during trial (see paragraph [230] in Judgment for High Court Suit 667/2012, yet the High Court still allowed NUS to escape all liability for its wrongdoing.


So much for accountability from the Ministry of Education. So much for asking the government for help.

Why my case matters to every Singaporean

Every Singaporean should be frightened and outraged by my case, because, if a major public body like NUS can get away scot-free with blatant abuse of power, corruption, cover-up and retaliation against a whistle-blower, while spending at least $700,000 dollars (as NUS has claimed)
fighting a legal battle against me in the High Court, then ANY public body in Singapore can get away with doing these things to ANY Singaporean (or, at least, to any ordinary Singaporean who is not a member of the privileged and entitled “elite” class). 

My case shows that a public body in Singapore like NUS is “above the law” and can get away with abuse of power scot-free, with zero accountability and total impunity. My case will embolden other public bodies and elites to engage in abuse of power, cover-up and retaliation just like NUS did to me. 

My case also shows that ordinary Singaporeans will find that their legal right to appeal to the Court of Appeal can be denied if they can't afford to pay $20,000 for “Security for Costs.

My case also shows that, incredibly, the Court can even allow a wrongdoer (like NUS) to act as a gatekeeper who decides whether or not its victim will be allowed access to justice, and that wrongdoers can block appeals to the Court of Appeal. 

My case also shows that Singaporeans who blow the whistle on blatant abuse of power by “elites” at NUS face the prospect of being bankrupted by NUS. 

All of these facts make a mockery of the rule of law in Singapore.

Please see the video of the 17-minute speech about my case that I gave at Hong Lim Park, Singapore, on 16 March 2019.

For more information about my case, see the following articles:




Donation Details


It is an uphill battle but I shall continue in my struggle to get justice. If you wish to help me with my court filing fees, the two sets of "Security for Costs" and related legal expenses such as court transcripts, here are the donation details.

Paypal
tljvnus@gmail.com

PayLah!
93884036

Bank
POSB Everyday Savings Account 193-69702-0

Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie
DBS Bank Pte Ltd
12 Marina Boulevard,
DBS Asia Central,
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3,
Singapore 018982
Singapore

Bank swift code:
DBSSSGSG

Branch code:
081

Thank you!