Ex-property agent jailed, fined $100k over bribery

Goh gave $100,000 in bribes to secure priority access to a property launch.
Goh gave $100,000 in bribes to secure priority access to a property launch.

A former property agent who gave a total of $100,000 in bribes to a senior manager of a development firm, to get priority access to a property launch, was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail and fined a total of $100,000 yesterday.

Goh Chan Chong, 40, was convicted in February of giving two sums of $50,000 to United Engineers Developments' then senior manager Suhaimi Amin for invitation cards to the launch of The Rochester in North Buona Vista in 2007.

Goh, now unemployed, is appealing against both conviction and sentence, and is on $45,000 bail. He has an outstanding third charge scheduled for a pre-trial conference.

Mr Suhaimi, 53, had been fined $60,000 after he admitted to one of two counts of corruptly receiving $50,000 from Goh. He repaid Goh in May 2008 even before he made a police report.

The court was told that Goh asked Mr Suhaimi for invitation cards. Besides giving him VIP cards, Mr Suhaimi added Goh's name and those of his associates to the VVIP guest list.

On July 16, 2007, Goh and his nine associates, including his mother, brothers, wife and mother-in-law, obtained options to purchase for 10 units. They later bought eight, six of which were sold at higher prices.

A few weeks later, to reward Mr Suhaimi, Goh gave him $50,000 at a roti prata shop. He later gave him another $50,000 at the same shop.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Kow noted the large amount of criminal benefits - from $1.1 million to $1.69 million - realised, and the fact that Goh and his girlfriend still retain two units.

Goh, who was initially defended by Mr Peter Low, denied giving bribes to Mr Suhaimi. He suggested that Mr Suhaimi lied as he wanted to "exact revenge". But the prosecution argued that Mr Suhaimi had no reason to implicate himself.

Defence lawyer Raymond Lye, who took over Goh's case after conviction and mitigated on his behalf, urged District Judge Luke Tan to impose a fine while DPP Kow argued for five to six months' jail plus a $100,000 fine. The maximum penalty for corruption is a $100,000 fine and five years' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-property agent jailed, fined $100k over bribery'. Print Edition | Subscribe