Ex-ST Marine senior executives charged with making false claims worth millions of dollars

The three former Singapore Technologies Marine senior executives Han Yew Kwang (left), Mok Kim Whang (centre) and Tan Mong Seng.
The three former Singapore Technologies Marine senior executives Han Yew Kwang (left), Mok Kim Whang (centre) and Tan Mong Seng.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Already accused of bribery, three former senior executives of ship builder ST Marine were on Wednesday (Jan 13) hauled back to court to face nearly 2,000 fresh charges of conspiring to make false claims for non-existent entertainment expenses involving millions of dollars.

The firm's 65-year-old former senior vice-president Mok Kim Whang, former president of commercial business Tan Mong Seng, 64, and former executive vice-president Han Yew Kwang, 58, were allegedly involved in a plot to abuse the firm's petty cash voucher system between 2000 and 2009.

Mok, who left the company in July 2004, was charged in end 2014 with conspiring to give a bribe of nearly $44,000 to a Hyundai Engineering and Construction employee, between 2004 and 2010.

But he now also faces 824 new charges of conspiring to make false entries for fake entertainment expenses worth $3,130,172, between 2000 and 2004. For instance, he is accused of approving reimbursement claims for entertainment expenses that were never incurred.

 
 
 
 

He is also accused of two counts of submitting fake claims worth $5,000 - bringing his total number of new charges to 826.

Tan and Han were first charged in July last year.

The former was accused of conspiring to give a $43,721 bribe to the Hyundai staff, while Han faced eight counts of scheming to give $790,772 in bribes, in return for favours such as ship repair contracts, to agents of ST Marine's customers between 2004 and 2009.

Tan left the company in June 2002, and Han, in June 2014.

Tan now faces 445 charges of conspiring to make false entries for $1,641,304 in fake entertainment claims between 2002 and 2004, while Han faces 473 charges involving $1,858,597 for claims between 2004 and 2009.

The trio are out on bail of $200,000. The three men are among seven ex-ST Marine senior executives who have been charged for graft or falsification of accounts. 

This group includes two former ST Marine presidents, See Leong Teck and Chang Cheow Teck.

See, the company's president from Dec 1997 to Feb 2008, was succeeded by Chang, who held the role until April 2010 before moving to ST Aerospace. See is accused of seven counts of conspiring to corruptly bribe agents of the shipyard's customers while Chang is accused of giving almost S$274,000 in bribes on three occasions.

The firms former group financial controller Patrick Lee Swee Ching, 58, pleaded guilty to falsifying documents to cover up corrupt payments worth over $126,000, and and was fined $210,000 last July.

He escaped a jail term as he had, among other things, committed to testify against his alleged co-conspirators.

The maximum penalty for falsification of accounts to defraud an employer is 10 years' jail and a fine. The maximum punishment for the offence, if committed prior to 2008, is seven years' jail and a fine.

ST Marine is a unit of publicly-listed ST Engineering, which yesterday announced to the local stock exchange that its subsidiary has been extending its full cooperation to the CPIB since investigations started in 2011.

While adding that the new charges are unlikely to have "any material impact" on its bottomline, it said that it is "committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance and recognises that fraud is detrimental" to its reputation.

amirh@sph.com.sg