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 Schools’ owner breaks down in court

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Tigris
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PostSubject: Schools’ owner breaks down in court   Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:26 pm

SINGAPORE: Students at Stansfield College and the Singapore Institute of Commerce had remained uninsured "for months" even though staff members knew of this.

So, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) had not wrongfully suspended the two private schools, senior counsel Cavinder Bull argued in court on Monday.

By having 479 uninsured students, the schools were in breach of the CaseTrust for Education scheme, and as the scheme’s administrator, CASE was obliged to inform the public about it, said Mr Bull, who was defending CASE against a $10—million suit.

The schools’ suspension between Nov 20 and Dec 13 in 2006 was not brought about by false rumours that they were facing financial troubles — as contended by the schools’ owner Kannappan Chettiar — said the lawyer.

He added that when CASE wrote to the schools, it asked only about the discrepancy between the number of student passes issued by the immigration authorities and the number of insured students.

The suspension came a week after, when the schools had not been able to "remedy the situation" despite promising to do so.

Under the lawyer’s cross—examination, on Day Two of the suit against CASE and insurer NTUC Income, Mr Chettiar broke down on the stand.

Mr Bull grilled him on his intentions for taking legal action and referred to a letter Mr Chettiar had sent out to students, government agencies and the press following news about his schools’ suspension — in which the businessman said the two organisations were "fully responsible" for the errors.

The lawyer asked if he was "trying to profit" from the mistakes or was bringing about a "frivolous lawsuit".

When Mr Chettiar disagreed, Mr Bull asked if he was trying to force CASE to apologise through the lawsuit.

"I have ... I think my ... yes, I want an apology," Mr Chettiar said, before taking out his handkerchief and wiping his tears.


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