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Woman and her husband to be charged under OSA over leak of MOE, MSF statement on COVID-19 school closures

Woman and her husband to be charged under OSA over leak of MOE, MSF statement on COVID-19 school closures

File photo of a gavel (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A 38-year-old woman and her husband will be charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on Wednesday (Apr 21) over the leak of a draft media statement containing information on school closures during Singapore's COVID-19 "circuit breaker" last year. 

The woman was a public servant and an authorised recipient of the media statement at the time of the offence, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a news release.

On Apr 3 last year, the police received a report that a draft joint media statement by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Ministry of Education (MOE) had been leaked to the public before it was officially released.

The draft statement contained details of the implementation of full home-based learning by schools and institutes of higher learning, as well as the closure of pre-schools and student care centres. 

READ: 2 arrested under Official Secrets Act for leak of MOE, MSF statement on schools closure, move to home-based learning

Investigations revealed that the woman allegedly took a photo of the statement on her computer screen and shared the image with her husband via WhatsApp on Apr 3 at about 9am.

Her husband, who was not an authorised recipient of the statement, allegedly shared the image with his friends.

"The image thus became publicly available before the information was officially released," said SPF.

The woman also allegedly took photos of a list of essential services that would continue operating during the circuit breaker and sent them to her husband at his request.

Both will be charged for offences of wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act.

The man, 39, will also be charged for soliciting the wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act.

If found guilty of wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act, they could be jailed for up to two years and fined up to S$2,000.

"Sixteen others who had wrongfully received and further communicated the information downstream will be administered with written advisories for wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act," said SPF.

"Unauthorised recipients should delete and not further circulate any confidential information received, as they may otherwise be similarly liable under the Official Secrets Act."

READ: Former deputy lead of MOH data unit charged under OSA for leaking Singapore's COVID-19 numbers 22 times

Last week, the former deputy lead of the Health Ministry's data unit was charged under the OSA for leaking Singapore's daily COVID-19 case numbers on 22 occasions last year.

Zhao Zheng, 36, allegedly sent the information to a WeChat group with 49 other members, before the ministry had officially released the figures.

She is also accused of obtaining confidential details of a COVID-19 case without authorisation and giving the information to co-accused Tang Lin.

Source: CNA/dv(gs)

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