SINGAPORE: Seven people were charged with corruption on Wednesday (Oct 14) in a case linked to Keppel FELS.
Three men at the centre of the charges each faces 46 counts of abetment. Alvin Lim Wee Lun, Goh Ngak Eng and Rajavikraman Jayapandian are accused of conspiring with one another to corruptly obtain S$879,900 in bribes from three subcontractors.
The alleged offences took place between 2014 and 2017, according to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
In a statement on Wednesday, Keppel FELS - which provides services for global offshore and marine industries - said it was aware of Lim being charged by CPIB.
It added that Lim had been a former facilities manager at Keppel FELS and that he was dismissed by the company in 2019 for "breaching Keppel's Code of Conduct".
The subcontractors involved are U Keh Choon, the director of Titan Offshore Equipment; Stanley Goh Sheng Li, the director of Spectrama Marine & Industrial Supplies; and Fatkullah Tiap, the managing director of Growa FE.
U faces seven counts of bribery amounting to S$196,700, Stanley Goh has been charged with 21 counts of bribery amounting to S$190,900 and Fatkullah is alleged to have paid 18 bribes amounting to S$492,300.
The bribes were paid through Goh Ngak Eng to further the business interests of the subcontractors’ respective companies with Keppel FELS.
The seventh individual charged was Ong Tun Chai, who received S$15,100 from Goh Ngak Eng for falsifying invoices.
Ong was charged with 10 counts of accepting gratification and 20 counts of falsifying papers that belonged to a logistics company and issuing them to Growa and Titan.
Accordingly, Goh Ngak Eng faces 10 counts of giving gratification to Ong.
Goh and Rajavikraman are also involved in three illegal transactions amounting to S$7,000 in relation to a marine equipment manufacturer.
According to the CPIB, the money was paid to Rajavikraman by Goh Ngak Eng as a “reward” for furthering the company’s business interests.
U is a Singapore permanent resident, while the rest of the men are Singapore citizens.
Stanley Goh intends to plead guilty and was given a date to do so on Nov 13. The rest will return to court for further mentions next month.
“Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption," CPIB said.
"Companies are strongly advised to put in place robust procedures in areas such as procurement and internal audit to prevent falling victim to corrupt acts by their employees."
Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000, sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years or both.
PREVIOUS CASE INVOLVING KEPPEL OFFSHORE & MARINE
In 2018, Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) - the parent company of Keppel FELS - was fined a total of US$422 million (S$567 million) over its part in an international corruption scandal.
The settlement with criminal authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore came following the release of court documents by the US Justice Department, which stated that Keppel O&M had "knowingly and willfully conspired” to pay bribes as part of a “decade-long scheme” to win 13 contracts with Petrobas and Sete Brasil.
These two Brazilian oil companies had been embroiled in a sprawling graft probe dubbed “Operation Car Wash” carried out by the country’s federal police since 2014.
The bribery scandal raised questions about the firm's corporate governance and caused turbulence in the shares of mainboard-listed Keppel.
Keppel O&M was served a conditional warning on Dec 23, 2017, which it accepted.
This was issued in lieu of prosecution for corruption offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act and part of the global resolution, according to the Dec 23 joint statement from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and the CPIB.
The local authorities said that in issuing the conditional warning in lieu of prosecution, "due consideration was given to the substantial cooperation" rendered by Keppel O&M to the investigations - which included the unit's self-reporting to AGC and CPIB of the corrupt payments made by it - and the "extensive remedial measures taken".
As of Dec 23, 2017, AGC and CPIB said investigations into the individuals involved were still ongoing.