She bribed medic to pass items to boyfriend

Woman gets one week's jail for giving serviceman $50 to deliver phone, charger and snacks to SAF detainee

A woman who gave $50 to a medic at the Singapore Armed Forces detention barracks (SAFDB) to pass some items to her boyfriend there was jailed for one week yesterday.

Lavannya Rajagopal, 25, had admitted to giving the bribe on April 30, 2012, to induce Chai Yit Hong, 27, to deliver a mobile phone, a charger and snacks to the cell of her boyfriend, Mr Ranjan Ganeshan.

She was among seven people hauled to court for bribing Chai, and the last to be dealt with.

Chai was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $750 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Kow Weijie said that some time in April 2012, Lavannya found out from a friend that there was an SAFDB serviceman - Chai - who would smuggle items to detainees in return for $50.

In mid-April that year, she visited Mr Ranjan at the detention barracks and told him that she knew someone who could pass snacks to him for a price.

Later she obtained Chai's name and contact number from her friend.

She told Chai she wished to pass some items to Mr Ranjan at the barracks and asked for his bank account number in order to transfer $50 to him for his help.

Chai gave Lavannya his bank account number and agreed to meet her to collect the items.

On April 30, after transferring $50 to Chai's bank account, she met him in Woodlands and handed him an old cellphone containing Mr Ranjan's SIM card, a charger and some snacks to be passed to him in his cell.

DPP Kow said that at all times, Lavannya knew it was against the SAFDB's rules for her to deliver the various items.

Her lawyer, Mr Revi Shanker, said in mitigation that Lavannya did it because of her boyfriend, and not because she wanted to gain anything in return.

Describing her as a "bright girl", counsel said his client is going through a difficult time and wants to move on. He urged the court to give her a chance.

DPP Kow said this was a public-sector corruption offence and, in cases like this, a custodial sentence was the norm.

"We need to deter corruption within the public sector," he said.

Lavannya could have been fined up to $100,000 and jailed for up to five years for corruption.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'She bribed medic to pass items to boyfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe