SINGAPORE: A former employee at a halfway house was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail and fined S$980 on Friday (Sep 11) for accepting bribes from residents undergoing rehabilitation, in exchange for showing leniency when they broke the rules.
Roy Evan Rajoo, 60, was charged with 20 counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act on Jun 3.
The offences were committed between November 2018 and May 2019, when Roy Evan was an operations staff at Teen Challenge (Singapore) (TCS). The halfway house provides rehabilitation for inmates from the Singapore Prison Service assigned to community-based programmes.
“His duty was to check on the residents and ensure that they do not contravene the Teen Challenge (Singapore) rules prohibiting the consumption and possession of cigarettes and alcohol during their stay,” said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a news release.
His job scope included conducting smokerlyser and breathalyser tests on residents when they return from work or visits, and to put up an incident report if there had been any violations.
CPIB found that he had received S$3,000 worth of bribes in the form of loans from 12 residents. In return, he would not conduct the required tests or fail to put up incident reports when they were caught violating the rules.
ACCUSED ACCEPTED BRIBES IN RETURN FOR FAVOURS
The bribes ranged between S$10 and S$500, according to court documents.
In one case, Roy Evan had caught a resident smoking in December 2018. He told the resident that he would let him off without an incident warning, but that he must repay the favour.
A few days later, he asked the resident for a S$250 loan. In January 2019, he asked the resident for another S$250 loan.
In May that year, Roy Evan confiscated four packets of cigarettes from another resident’s bag when the latter returned from a medical appointment and filed an incident report. When the resident offered him S$50 in return for letting him off, he refused as there was a CCTV nearby.
However, when the resident later asked him to put in a good word with the assistant centre director to "alleviate any penalty" he might receive for the packets of cigarettes, Roy Evan asked for a S$70 loan in return. The resident agreed and gave him S$80.
Court papers showed that he has repaid five of the residents the amounts he owed them.
“The accused’s actions perverted the purpose of TCS, which was to rehabilitate ex-offenders,” said the prosecution.
“By corruptly extracting gratification from the residents in exchange for, essentially, allowing them to flout the rules of TCS, the accused incentivised the very attitudes that the residents were meant to turn away from.
"This undermines the perception of TCS as a rehabilitative institution in the eyes of its residents, if not the eyes of the general public.”
Anyone convicted of a corruption offence could be jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$100,000 or both.