SINGAPORE: A former deputy group director with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) was charged on Friday (Jul 24) with taking about S$1.24 million in bribes in the form of loans to advance contractors or subcontractors’ business interests with LTA.
Henry Foo Yung Thye, 46, was charged with 36 offences, including obtaining or attempting to obtain bribes in the form of loans from contractors or subcontractors and cheating his colleagues.
Twenty-two of the charges were for taking bribes in the form of loans from the contractors or subcontractors between 2014 and 2019, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a press release on Friday.
He is also accused of cheating his LTA colleagues into giving him about S$726,500 in loans between 2008 and 2019.
He had “dishonestly” concealed from them that the loans were intended to service his gambling habit and debts, charge sheets state.
This makes the total sum of the money involved across all of Foo's charges almost S$2 million, Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting told the court.
Charge sheets said that Foo took sums of between S$1,000 and S$200,000 from various directors of firms to advance their business interests with LTA.
The biggest single sum of S$200,000 was allegedly sought from Tiong Seng Contractors director Pay Teow Heng in June 2017, so that Foo would advance the contractor's business interests with LTA.
The prosecutor had asked for bail of S$500,000 for Foo, who was unrepresented. Foo told the court that he intends to plead guilty to his corruption charges and asked for the bail to be "a manageable amount", adding that he wants to have some time with his children.
The prosecutor told the court that none of the money lost in the corruption charges has been recovered so far.
Foo was offered bail of S$250,000 and will return to court for a pre-trial conference next month.
DIRECTORS, MANAGERS AND COMPANY CHARGED
Six individuals and a company were also charged in relation to Foo’s alleged offences.
Pay, the director of Tiong Seng Contractors, was among the six charged on Friday. The company's managing director, Pek Lian Guan, was also charged.
Pay, 52 and Pek, 55, allegedly conspired to give bribes in the form of loans of about S$350,000 to Foo, to advance the business interests of the company with the LTA.
They each face two charges of corruption.
Two South Koreans who worked for Daewoo Engineering and Construction were also charged with giving bribes to Foo.
Project manager Ro Sung-young, 48, and project director Kim Young-gyu, 51, were accused of conspiring to give about S$50,000 in bribes to Foo in the form of loans. They each face two charges of corruption.
Chinese national Cai Jungang, who was a director of Tritech Engineering and Testing (Singapore), was also charged with giving about S$285,000 in loans to Foo to bribe him to advance the company’s business interest with LTA. The 56-year-old is facing seven charges of corruption.
Zhang Xihu, who was a director of MEPT Engineering at the time of the alleged offences, is accused of giving about S$325,000 in bribes to Foo in the form of loans. The 52-year-old faces seven charges of corruption.
The China Railway Tunnel Group (Singapore Branch) is accused of corruptly giving bribes, in the form of loans totalling about S$220,000, to Foo. The company faces three charges of corruption.
One of the charges is for giving a bribe in the form of a S$100,000 loan to Foo, then a deputy group director of the Thomson-East Coast and Cross Island Lines under LTA, in order to advance China Railway Tunnel Group's interests with LTA.
A representative for the company, Mr Fan Peng, asked for an adjournment to seek legal advice.
In relation to the offences involving the payments from the China Railway Tunnel Group, a 53-year-old man was charged with forgery.
Chen Xuguang, who worked as a director at Tong Sheng Construction and Trading, is accused of abetting the falsification of Tong Sheng invoices and faces two charges of forgery. Tong Sheng is a subcontractor of the China Railway Tunnel Group.
Most of the accused were represented by lawyers from firms including WongPartnership and Rajah & Tann.
Anyone convicted of corruption can be fined up to S$100,000, jailed for up to five years or both.
The maximum imprisonment term for each offence of corruption can be increased to seven years if it is in relation to a matter or contract with the Government or a public body, or a subcontract to execute work comprised in such a contract.
Anyone convicted of cheating or falsification of accounts can be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
“Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and fraud. Bribery, cheating and the falsification of accounts are serious offences,” CPIB said.
In response to CNA's queries, an LTA spokesperson confirmed Foo was charged in court on Friday for corruption and fraud.
"As the case is now before court, we are unable to comment on the matter," the spokesperson said.