Ex-ICA specialist jailed four months for corruption

A former Immigration and Checkpoints Authority specialist was jailed for four months on Friday for corruptly accepting $50 to grant social visit passes to two foreigners.

Ezhar Kamis, 25, unemployed, was ordered to pay a penalty of $50, which he had accepted from a colleague, Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali, 29, to grant the visit passes on March 1, 2011.

He pleaded guilty and is the last ICA officer to be dealt with. Three of his colleagues had earlier been given similar sentences for corruption.

Investigation showed that in 2010, Mustaffa came to know a Filipina at a pub and agreed to help her "extend'' her social visit pass in return for a fee. Since then he had been helping foreigners to do "U-turn'' for a fee.

In a U-turn case, a foreigner exits Singapore for a nearby country such as Malaysia and then seeks to re-enter within the same day or a short period of time to get a fresh social visit pass.

Mustaffa, who was jailed for 21 months and ordered to pay a penalty of $8,050 last December, collaborated with Philibert Tng Hai Swee in the scheme. Mr Tng died in October 2011.

To help the foreigners do a U-turn, Mustaffa engaged the help of Tng, his relative or his friend to ferry the foreigners on a roundtrip between Singapore and Malaysia for a fee.

He also recruited four other ICA specialists, including Ezhar, to help him.

Investigation showed that Mustaffa instructed his colleagues to grant the foreigners he would send to them a fresh 30-day visit pass without carrying out the necessary checks. Mustaffa and his colleagues flouted ICA rules by using their cellphones to communicate with each other when they carried out their scheme.

On March 1, 2011, the two Filipinas, who wanted to extend their stay in Singapore, did a U-turn at Tuas checkpoint. Tng was the driver for the trip.

As Mustaffa was not on duty that day, he had arranged with Ezhar to facilitate the two women's entry into Singapore. Tng, who was paid by the two Filipinas, kept some money for himself and gave at least $550 to Mustaffa.

Ehzar received $50 from Mustaffa as his reward for granting the Filipinas their social visit passes.

A second charge of agreeing to accept $50 was considered during his sentencing.

He could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years.