Siblings of Singapore PM seek disciplinary hearing on conduct of Lee Kuan Yew’s lawyer

Kwa Kim Li, a managing partner at law firm Lee and Lee, prepared the wills for the late Lee Kuan Yew. — TODAY pic
Kwa Kim Li, a managing partner at law firm Lee and Lee, prepared the wills for the late Lee Kuan Yew. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Feb 5 — The siblings of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are seeking the convening of a disciplinary tribunal to investigate the conduct of their cousin, Kwa Kim Li, who prepared six wills for their late father Lee Kuan Yew.

Kwa, a managing partner at law firm Lee and Lee, prepared the wills for Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding prime minister, between August 20, 2011 and November 2, 2012.

Court documents obtained by TODAY showed that Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, who are executors and trustees of Lee Kuan Yew’s estate, filed the High Court application against the Law Society (LawSoc) on September 21 last year.

The Lee siblings’ application states that an inquiry committee investigated Kwa following three complaints made in 2019.

The application seeks an order from the High Court directing the LawSoc to apply to Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon “for the appointment of a disciplinary tribunal for a formal investigation into the conduct of Ms Kwa Kim Li” over three of the 2019 complaints.

TODAY asked LawSoc for details of the complaints and the outcome of the inquiry committee. In response, its spokesperson said: “The Law Society is unable to comment as the matter is sub judice.”

The siblings put forth their application under Section 96(1) of the Legal Profession Act, which states that a person may apply to a judge if he is dissatisfied with LawSoc’s decision following his complaint.

This can apply to cases where the LawSoc’s council determined that a formal investigation is not necessary, or that there is no sufficient cause for a formal investigation, but that the lawyer concerned should be given a warning, reprimanded or ordered to pay a penalty.

Dr Lee had previously accused Kwa of breaching her duties as a lawyer to Lee Kuan Yew and lying about her involvement in the events that led to him signing his final will in December 2013.

A pre-trial conference for the Lee siblings’ application was set for October 6 last year, and the matter was heard behind closed doors before High Court judge Valerie Thean on Monday (Feb 1).

Kwa is the niece of the Lee siblings’ late mother Kwa Geok Choo.

A family dispute over the Lee family home at 38 Oxley Road was made public in June 2017, when Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee posted a six-page statement on Facebook, accusing PM Lee of abusing his authority to prevent the demolition of the house.

Lee Kuan Yew had seven wills in total, and from the fifth will onwards, a demolition clause was omitted but was reinstated in the seventh and last will, which was done with the involvement of Lee Suet Fern, who is Lee Hsien Yang’s wife.

The demolition clause states that it was the wish of Lee Kuan Yew and his wife for the house be demolished immediately after his death or, “if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out”.

On November 20 last year, Lee Suet Fern was suspended from legal practice for 15 months after a Court of Three Judges found her guilty of “misconduct unbefitting an advocate and solicitor” over her handling of the last will.

The two siblings are represented by Abraham Vergis and Aisyah Arif of Providence Law Asia LLC. LawSoc is represented by Lim Yun Heng and P. Padman of KSCGP Juris LLP. — TODAY

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