SINGAPORE - A 38-year-old NSman, who took the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) for another NSman and induced the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) to pay the latter a $400 incentive for getting the Gold award, was on Tuesday (Sept 13) jailed for two months.
Kho Puay Meng pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to cheat.
A district court heard that Kho was approached by NSman Lim Chun Chyi, 35, in 2014 to take IPPT on behalf of other NSmen, in return for a cut of the payouts given by Mindef for awards.
Lim solicited or received requests from about 70 NSmen. He collected their identity cards and booked IPPT slots for them online.
Lim either completed the IPPT in a client's name, or got someone else to do it for him. Thereafter, he would return the identity card and IPPT results slip to the client.
When the client got the payout disbursed by Mindef, the cash would be handed over to Lim.
NSmen who do not pass their IPPT have to go for remedial fitness training.
In early November 2014, NSman Tan Yi Li, 27, got a call from Lim, who offered to complete his IPPT on his behalf, in exchange for the payout disbursed by Mindef. Tan agreed.
Lim then called Kho and asked him to take the IPPT in Tan's name, in return for half of the payout for an award. Kho, who did not know who Tan was, agreed.
On Nov 22, Lim met Kho at the entrance of Khatib Camp and passed him Tan's identity card.
Kho completed the IPPT in Tan's name and got a Gold award, which carries a $400 cash incentive. He got a cut of $200 from Lim.
However, on Dec 6, a Certis Cisco fitness trainer on duty at the IPPT centre at Khatib Camp saw Lim and recognised him from before.
The trainer searched Lim's IPPT records and his belongings, and found out that he was taking the IPPT on behalf of other NSmen.
The Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command investigated the case, before referring it to the Singapore Police Force in April last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting asked for two months' jail, noting that "the scheme undermined the National Service regime and its associated public policy objectives".
"The conspiracy was hatched pursuant to motivation of the reservist personnel to evade an essential aspect of their National Service obligations, viz the IPPT test, and on the part of the accused persons, a desire for personal financial gain."
And the co-conspirators deceived a public institution, she noted.
Defence lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy, meanwhile, asked for not more than four weeks' jail.
Kho was not the mastermind, but a "mere pawn in the entire scheme", he said.
The lawyer added that Kho's "main motivation of committing the offence was because he genuinely wanted to help his fellow NSman who was unable to clear his IPPT".
He agreed to take part in the scheme only after repeated requests by Lim, the lawyer added.
Kho has paid Mindef back the $400 that he cheated it of, even though he pocketed only $200 of the payout.
The maximum punishment for cheating and thereby dishonestly inducing a delivery of property is 10 years' jail and a fine.
Kho is out on $25,000 bail, pending an appeal against sentence.
The cases for Lim, Tan, and the rest of the NSmen involved in the scheme are pending.
Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.