Ex-Nestle manager gets eight months' jail and $62k fine for corruption

Toh Heng Huat was convicted of 29 charges of corruption and ordered to pay a compensation of $4,500 on a cheating charge.
Toh Heng Huat was convicted of 29 charges of corruption and ordered to pay a compensation of $4,500 on a cheating charge.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former beverage systems solution manager who received $62,071 in bribes was sentenced to eight months' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of that amount on Thursday (April 21).

Toh Heng Huat, 34, was convicted of 29 charges of corruption, and also ordered to pay a compensation of $4,500 on a cheating charge.

He is appealing, and is out on $70,000 bail.

Toh was convicted last month after a seven-day trial of corruptly receiving bribes from Mr Ron Wong Teck Chye, a director of SCAD Partners, to further the business interests of SCAD with Nestle.

He received various amounts of payment between Jan 7, 2012, and February 2013 on 29 separate dates.

The prosecution's case is that these represented a 50 per cent share of the profits which SCAD made from its contract with Nestle.

While Toh agreed that he had intended to make secret profits from the business venture he had with Mr Wong for SCAD to undertake the contract with Nestle, he submitted that the monies which he received were not rewards. He also said he did not know what he did was corrupt.

Giving her brief grounds of decision, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said the crucial evidence against Toh was Mr Wong's testimony and Toh's statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Mr Wong had conceded that he gave Toh monies to "thank" him for recommending SCAD to Nestle, and during the course of the contract, Toh could settle or sort problems which SCAD might have with Nestle's staff.

Mr Wong also said Toh had told him that if there were any problems, he could help to settle them.

Toh agreed that he had recommended SCAD to take over from the then existing contractor, which no longer wanted to carry on as the maintenance and repair contractor.

The judge said when Toh recommended SCAD, he would have known that he was furthering the business interests of SCAD . When he helped to sort out the problems, he was likewise showing favour to SCAD.

The prosecution asked the court to impose a sentence of nine to 12 months while defence lawyer Teo Choo Kee argued that a sentence of not more than six months would be just and appropriate.

Toh, who now works as a sales manager, could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each charge.