SINGAPORE: A forklift operator has been sent to prison and fined for taking "small-value" bribes from truck drivers at Cogent Container Depot, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said on Friday (Feb 15).
Zhao Yucun, an employee at the depot, was responsible for operating forklifts to load and unload containers to and from trucks.
The 44-year-old man obtained bribes amounting to S$7 to S$10 daily from truck drivers in exchange for not delaying the moving of containers to and from their trucks, the bureau said.
When Zhao was arrested by CPIB in March 2018, coins amounting to S$2.50 were found in the mudguard of Zhao's forklift.
He was estimated to have collected about S$10,865.50 in bribes between Sep 2, 2013 and Mar 12, 2018.
Zhao was sentenced to four months imprisonment and fined S$10,863 for taking the "small-value" bribes from truck drivers, CPIB said.
S$1 BRIBE 'THE NORM'
Zhao is the second forklift operator at the depot to be sentenced this year for taking bribes. His former colleague, Chen Ziliang, was also prosecuted for obtaining bribes from truck drivers at Cogent.
On Jan 10, Chen was sentenced to two months in prison and fined S$4,870.50, CPIB said.
The corrupt practice came to light in October 2017, when a truck driver confronted Chen after having to wait in the queue for a long time.
"Chen then informed the driver that it was the norm for truck drivers to pay S$1, or risk having to wait longer in the queue or be given containers that were in a bad condition," CPIB said in its statement.
Investigations by the bureau showed Chen had taken bribes amounting to S$7 to $10 daily from truck drivers. He was estimated to have collected about S$4,872.50 in bribes between Feb 1, 2016 and Mar 12, 2018.
"There is no limit on the bribe amount that the CPIB can and will investigate, even if the amount is as small as one dollar. A bribe of one dollar is still an offence," the bureau said.
"Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. It is a serious offence to obtain bribes, or attempt to obtain bribes from another individual or entity."
Those convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000 and be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, or both.