Former A*Star employee jailed for taking bribes

Yu Jiarong, 39, accepted bribes of more than $200,000 and also lied that he had misplaced his Singapore passport.
Yu Jiarong, 39, accepted bribes of more than $200,000 and also lied that he had misplaced his Singapore passport.

He gets 31/2 years for taking over $200k, lying about passport

A former Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) employee who accepted bribes of more than $200,000 has been jailed for 31/2 years.

Yu Jiarong, 39, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $202,430, or 40 weeks' jail in default. He did not pay the penalty and will serve the default sentence.

The former facilities engineer with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) pleaded guilty on Thursday to five corruption charges and one of lying that he had misplaced his Singapore passport. Thirteen other corruption charges were considered during his sentencing.

Yu's duties included recommending quotations for services to the IME for his supervisor's approval.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yonghui said Yu's scheme of corruption started in 2011 when he asked Mr Soh Kok Choy, then a project manager in Contech Engineering, if he could be given "commission'' in exchange for future jobs. Mr Soh - in charge of some of Contech's clients including the IME - and a director of Contech later agreed.

Between 2012 and 2013, Yu engaged in a further scheme of corruption involving the advancement of the business interests of three companies - Techfield Engineering Services (TES), Yield Engineering Solutions (YES) and Techfield Solutions (TSPL) - with IME.

In early 2012, Yu asked Mr Ang Yew Heng, who owned TES, if he and Mr Soh, a partner of TES, could give him a sum of money as "commission'' for each job he arranged to award to TES. The duo later agreed.

 

Yu obtained bribes of $9,500 to $49,700 from Mr Soh and Mr Ang as reward for advancing the business interests of the three companies with IME in 2012 and 2013. The 68 contracts awarded to the three companies was valued at $698,887.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau started investigations into the case in February 2014.

That month, Yu called Mr Soh and told him: "You all don't be so honest. I will not admit too much. I will at most admit that I take ten- plus thousand." In September that year, he told the bureau that he had borrowed $4,000 each from Mr Ang and Mr Soh and would return the money when, in fact, he had never borrowed any money.

DPP Chong said while Yu was released on investigation bail and had his passport impounded, he applied for a new passport on Sept 5 last year. He lied to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority that he had misplaced his passport and got a replacement. He booked a flight to Shanghai on Sept 24, but was arrested at Changi Airport.

Yu's lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, said his client came from China to work here in 2000. In 2008 he joined the IME and both he and his wife became citizens. He said Yu greatly regrets his actions.

Yu could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each corruption charge. The maximum penalty for the Passports Act offence is a $10,000 fine and 10 years' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Former A*Star employee jailed for taking bribes'. Print Edition | Subscribe