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Senior manager at Takashimaya jailed, fined for accepting bribes to cover up security guard shortage

Senior manager at Takashimaya jailed, fined for accepting bribes to cover up security guard shortage

Screengrab of Takashimaya from Google Street View.

SINGAPORE: A senior divisional manager at Takashimaya Singapore was sentenced to 10 months' jail on Tuesday (Oct 19) for accepting bribes to cover up the issue of a security guard shortage. 

Chan Kuen Thong, 64, was also ordered to pay a penalty of S$42,500.

Over a period of about three years, Chan received S$121,000 in bribes from a director of a security firm, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a media release.

He was in charge of Takashimaya's security department at the time, and security firm White Knights was awarded three contracts with the departmental store based on his recommendation. 

Under the contracts, White Knights was to deploy 18 security officers for the day shift and six for the night shift.

If there was a shortage of security officers at the store, Takashimaya was entitled to issue claims for the costs of the undeployed security guards.

Since the start of the first contract in January 2017, White Knights director Mandhir Singh Karpal Singh faced "a frequent shortfall" of about three to five security officers for the day shift, said CPIB.

Chan complained to Singh about the shortfall, which resulted in some security posts being left unmanned.

Later in January, Chan asked Singh to pay him S$4,000 every month, in exchange for not issuing claims for shortfall costs.

Singh agreed to the "corrupt arrangement", said CPIB, as it would save his firm between S$12,300 and S$20,500 each month.

It would also "save himself the trouble" of having to find more security officers and continue to secure contract renewals with Takashimaya, CPIB added.

Between February 2017 and May 2020, Singh gave Chan cash gratifications amounting to S$121,000 over 20 occasions. In return, Chan refrained from issuing claims for shortfall costs against White Knights.

Singh was sentenced to 10 months' jail on Aug 16. He pleaded guilty to five counts of corruptly giving bribes, with another 15 charges taken into consideration.

During Singh's trial, the prosecutor said that Takashimaya "housed many shops selling high-end products". 

"The supply of security officers helps deter incidents from happening and helps ensure a swift response if incidents do occur," the prosecutor said then.

"The fact that Chan realised security officers were missing from their posts meant that the shortage was a real, tangible and visible shortage."

CPIB advised companies to put in place robust procedures in areas such as procurement and internal audit to prevent corrupt acts by their employees.

"Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption," said the agency. "Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence under Section 6 of the Prevention of Corruption Act can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years or to both."

Source: CNA/ng(gs)

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