SINGAPORE - A former ST Marine chief executive officer and president implicated in one of the largest graft scandals in corporate Singapore was on Friday (Dec 2) sentenced to 10 months' jail and a $100,000 fine.
See Leong Teck, 66, who helmed the apex position at ST Marine, a subsidiary of bluechip engineering giant ST Engineering, is the fifth of seven former ST Marine executives charged in the case to be convicted.
He is the fourth to be sentenced and the third to be given a jail term. His sentence is the heftiest so far.
See had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge each of corruption, falsification of accounts, and failure to act honestly and use reasonable diligence in the discharge of his duties as the director of a company.
See became ST Marine's chief executive in December 1997 and was its president from 1998 until 2008.
Investigations revealed that ST Marine officers had been giving cash bribes to employees of ST Marine's customers since at least 1996, with the approval of its senior management team. At least $24.9 million in kickbacks were paid between 2000 and 2011.
Employees of ST Marine's customers, mainly overseas companies, would request "commissions" for giving ship-repair contracts and other business to the company.
After getting approval from ST Marine's senior management, an employee would submit petty cash claims for "entertainment expenses". Cash cheques issued for these claims would be encashed, and the amount given as a kickback.
In 2000 or 2001, See met with ST Marine's senior management and discussed the increasing payment of cash commissions, then a pre-existing practice. See approved the continuation of the practice.
In early 2004, at another such meeting attended by two members of ST Marine's audit committee, the issue was again brought up. The two were the committee's chairman Peter Yap Kim Kee and ST Engineering's then-chief executive Tan Pheng Hock. Both allegedly did not object to the continued practice.
In late 2003 or early 2004, auditors held two meetings with ST Marine's senior management, after they found claims had been paid without supporting receipts. See told auditors about the kickbacks, saying they were common practice in the industry and necessary. The auditors did not accept the explanation both times.
But See and others in ST Marine's management also agreed to continue using cash vouchers falsely labelled as entertainment expenses.
Mr Tan and Mr Yap were allegedly in agreement to continue the practise.
See will start serving his sentence on Jan 31.