SINGAPORE: Raja Morgan Chelliah, 26, has been sentenced to 34 months' prison for helping notorious match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal get a second Singapore biometric passport.
Delivering the verdict on Tuesday (Jun 23), District Judge Adam Nakhoda said he was convinced Raja Morgan had an "integral part" to play in the creation of the passport, which allowed the match-fixer to flee Singapore.
Raja Morgan was charged with three counts of falsifying information to create the passport, selling the passport to a person, and harbouring Wilson Raj with the intention of preventing the match-fixer from being apprehended for a previous offence.
The judge said a policy of general deterrence was to be used in sentencing as any doubt on Singapore's passport system could adversely impact the country's reputation. He also said Wilson Raj's notoriety bore no weight on his judgement and sentencing.
On May 30, 2010, Wilson Raj absconded from Singapore with a passport bearing his photograph but issued under Raja Morgan's particulars. At the time, Wilson Raj was on bail while awaiting an appeal hearing against a five-year corrective training sentence for an earlier offence.
Wilson Raj did not attend the appeal hearing, prompting the courts to issue a warrant of arrest for him. Raja Morgan later found out from local media reports that the match-fixer had fled Singapore using the passport bearing his details.
About two or three months after the warrant was issued, Wilson Raj contacted Raja Morgan, asking for another Singapore passport to be created with the former's photo but the particulars of another person.
Raja Morgan then involved accomplice Subramaniam Sellapah in a mutual agreement where the latter would provide his particulars for Wilson Raj's passport in exchange for money.
Raja Morgan's former girlfriend, 34-year-old Norizan Kamal, had assisted in collecting and writing Subramaniam's details on passport application forms to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. Subramaniam had signed off on these forms before Norizan submitted them on Jan 20, 2011.
The passport was then collected by Subramaniam seven days later, who handed over the passport to Raja Morgan. Raja Morgan then passed this passport to a person who paid the former S$5,000. Out of this, Raja Morgan gave S$2,000 to Subramaniam.
During the time of the incident, Raja Morgan was aware he was supplying Wilson Raj with the passport so the match-fixer could evade apprehension, the court heard. Wilson Raj was found to have used the second passport to travel to four countries before being arrested in Finland on Apr 16, 2014.
The prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu, said that Raja Morgan tried to distance himself for the case by getting his former girlfriend to process the passport application forms and not accompanying Subramaniam into the ICA for the passport collection.
The defence, led by litigator Surian Sidambaram, however said that the accused had believed Wilson Raj would have used the second passport to return his Singapore. Raja Morgan was not aware that Wilson Raj was part of an international match-fixing syndicate, he said.
However the judge said it was "disingenuous" to claim that Raja Morgan did not know of the seriousness of his offence.
For falsifying passport application details, Raja Morgan could have been sentenced to a maximum ten years' jail, a fine up to S$10,000 or both. For selling passports, he could have been jailed between two to 15 years and received a fine up to S$20,000.
For harbouring an offender for whom apprehension has been ordered for an offence, he could have received a maximum of one year's jail.