Ex-business director of ST Electronics unit gets 8 weeks' jail for corruption

Mark Edward Tjong, a former business director of an ST Electronics subsidiary, was sentenced to eight weeks' jail for corruption on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mark Edward Tjong, a former business director of an ST Electronics subsidiary, was sentenced to eight weeks' jail for corruption on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A former business director of an ST Electronics subsidiary was sentenced to eight weeks' jail for corruption on Tuesday.

Mark Edward Tjong was convicted of corruptly getting $57,387 from Mr Mujibur Rahman as a reward to appoint the 65-year-old Bangladesh national as an agent of ST Electronics (Info-Software Systems) (STE) to help the latter with a project with the Bangladesh Police Department in August 2006.

Tjong, 48, was then employed by STE, an arm of Singapore Technologies Engineering, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange.

The American citizen and Singapore Permanent Resident was also ordered to pay a penalty of $57,387. But his lawyers Shashi Nathan and Tania Chin successfully asked that the sum be stayed pending Tjong's appeal against conviction and sentence.

Tjong was originally tried on two bribery charges but was cleared of getting $30,000 from Mr Mujibur after an 11-day trial last month.

He was said to have obtained the amount through his then girlfriend and now wife Ho Su-Ling, 38, from Mr Mujibur as a reward for appointing him as STE's agent to help the software systems implementor clinch a contract with the Bangladesh police force.

Mr Mujibur , a managing director of Kings Shipping and Trading in Bangladesh, helped STE get the contract to supply walkie-talkies and a telecommunications network after he was appointed as STE's agent.

He was paid a 7 per cent agent's fee of $185,425.

The prosecution's case is that Tjong and Mr Mujibur discussed about profit-sharing months before the agent's fee was paid.

When Mr Mujibur asked Tjong what he could do for him, Tjong told him to return home and he would tell him later.

The pair met when Tjong went to Dhaka for a business trip in August that year. Mr Mujibur handed him two Citibank blank cheques which had been pre-signed and Tjong filled in the amounts.

When he returned to Singapore, he deposited the cheques in Ms Ho's POSB account.

The prosecution asked the court to impose a two to three month jail term, saying Tjong committed the offence with a high degree of premeditation and had abused his position for his personal benefit. The amount involved was also "very significant'', said Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Lim.

But Mr Nathan said a fine would suffice as this was a private commercial enterprise, and his client should not be treated as if he was a Government officer.

Tjong, who is on $80,000 bail, could have been fined up to $100,000 and jailed for up to five years. His passport has been impounded.