Ex-Resorts World Sentosa executive gets jail for corruption

People walk past a logo of Resorts World Sentosa.
People walk past a logo of Resorts World Sentosa.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - A former assistant director of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) was sentenced to 22 weeks' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $39,000 on Thursday (June 29) for corruption.

Alex Ong Boon Chuan, 45, now a businessman, is out on $80,000 bail, pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.

He was convicted on May 23, after a seven-day trial, of five charges of corruptly getting bribes of between $1,000 and $16,000 from Mr Kenneth Ng Soon Yong, now 49, a director of Mecflou, between July 2010 and May 2011 in return for not delaying progress payments to Mecflou.

Mecflou was the subcontractor for mechanical works for a project at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).

Ong was the zone manager in charge of the construction and installation of the Transformers theme ride at USS, and his job scope included approving progress payments for work done.

The mechanical and electrical engineering contractor of the project was Cyclect Electrical Engineering, which subcontracted the mechanical works to Mecflou.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue had argued that Ong acted with guilty knowledge when he took loans from Mr Ng, intending to capitalise on his position.

Ong, he said, knew that getting loans from a subcontractor of the project was a conflict of interest and in breach of RSS's code of conduct, but proceeded to do so.

Mr Ng gave the loans corruptly as an inducement for Ong not to delay progress payments, and even falsified documents to make false expense claims for the loans, and conceal the corrupt loans.

Mr Ng was sentenced to a total of 18 weeks in October 2015 after pleading guilty.

Ong's key defence was that he had acted under a "moral obligation" to repay the joint account that he shared with his wife.

DPP Jiang asked the court to impose 24 weeks' jail on Ong.

He disputed the defence that Ong was motivated by a "moral obligation" to repay the joint account. The evidence showed that this defence was "wholly illogical, and cannot be believed".

The evidence also showed that Ong was motivated by greed as both he and his wife were earning substantial salaries, and he had said he was never in financial difficulty.

The DPP did not push for a penalty, saying investigations were unable to ascertain whether the loans were repaid.

But Ong's lawyer Chua Eng Hui said the defence position was that the loans were fully repaid at the time.

He argued that parity of sentence should not be followed in this case. His client should not be punished worse than Mr Ng, who had an additional offence of falsifying documents.

Furthermore, he said no party, except for Mecflou, suffered damages.

In imposing the penalty, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said based on the evidence, she made the finding that there had been no repayment.

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