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todayonline - 23 days ago

Ang Mo Kio Town Council graft case: Ex-general manager jailed 2 years 3 months for taking S$86,000 in bribes

SINGAPORE — Two men involved in a high-profile graft case — former Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) general manager Wong Chee Meng and the company director he took bribes from — were sentenced to jail on Wednesday (Nov 20). Wong Chee Meng, 59, pleaded guilty earlier this year to receiving S$86,141 in kickbacks from 2014 to 2016 to advance the business interests of Chia Sin Lan’s two companies, 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise. Wong was sentenced to two years and three months’ jail and ordered to pay a penalty of S$23,398.09. Chia, 63, was given one year and nine months’ jail. Chia’s companies were also ordered to pay S$75,000 each for being in a criminal conspiracy to commit corruption. Both men admitted to three charges each under the Prevention of Corruption Act after a 16-day trial that began in September last year. The bribes included: Overseas remittances from Chia to Wong’s mistress from China The M1 mobile phone and line Wong used to make calls to his mistress Entertainment expenses on 29 occasions at various KTV lounges, restaurants, spas and a hotel Discounts on a Toyota Corolla Altis belonging to 19-ANC Salaries paid to Wong’s daughter-in-law by 19-ANC Wong, also known as Victor, was an employee of CPG Facilities Management, the managing agent of the town council that serves the Ang Mo Kio public housing estate. Chia’s companies handled general building, repairs and redecoration works for AMKTC and other town councils. WONG BECAME ‘BEHOLDEN’ TO CHIA In passing the sentences, District Judge John Ng said that Wong had allowed himself to be cultivated by Chia. Wong became “beholden” to the other man and the two companies after receiving the car discounts and remittances, which were for house renovations for Wong’s mistress, the judge added. He cited the facts that Chia had tried to hide the bribes by using a middleman to remit the money, and that he had recorded the bribes in a secret handwritten ledger, as aggravating factors. “Wong committed a grave mistake by succumbing to corruption and falling from grace. He must now face the consequences,” the judge told the court. The prosecution had sought four years and eight months’ jail for Wong, along with the penalty imposed. They asked for four years and two months’ jail for Chia, along with a maximum fine of S$100,000 for each of the two companies. Wong’s lawyer Melanie Ho had sought a lower sentence of between 11 and 14 months’ imprisonment, along with a S$1,505.63 penalty. She argued in mitigation that Wong was never in a position of power to decide on the awarding of contract tenders. She also said that there was no correlation between the bribes that Wong received and the contracts which were awarded to Chia’s companies. For each charge, Wong and Chia could have been jailed for up to seven years — two years more than the highest possible for a typical corruption charge as the transactions involved a public body — or fined up to S$100,000, or both. AMKTC GAVE MORE JOBS TO CHIA’S COMPANIES Wong admitted to influencing his staff from the contracts department to include 19-ANC in the list of contractors to invite for quotes. AMKTC also awarded more jobs to both companies in 2015, compared with 2014. In one instance, a tender was called in August 2015 for repair and redecoration works to 11 Housing and Development Board blocks in Teck Ghee. When Wong found out the highest bidder had been issued with a stop-work order by another town council, he highlighted it during a meeting and recommended that the tender be awarded to 19-NS2, the second-lowest bidder. Separately, AMKTC called for a tender for a term contract for the design, supply and delivery of low-emission incense burners in August 2016. Wong asked his contract staff to focus on studying the eco-friendly features of the burners that they had to assess, as he knew the one being offered by 19-ANC was the most eco-friendly among the bidders, and they would thus win the tender despite being the fourth-lowest bidder. Wong also denied the other bidders’ requests for more time to produce mock-ups that fit AMKTC’s requirements.


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