Traffic Police clerk jailed for graft

Khatijah A. Manap, 61, a Traffic Police clerk who leaked details of 23 accident victims to a law firm executive in exchange for cash, exiting the State Courts on July 11.
Khatijah A. Manap, 61, a Traffic Police clerk who leaked details of 23 accident victims to a law firm executive in exchange for cash, exiting the State Courts on July 11.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

A clerk with the Traffic Police investigation branch, who gave contact details of 23 accident victims to a law firm executive in exchange for cash, was jailed for 18 weeks yesterday.

Khatijah A. Manap, 61, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $2,500 - the amount of bribes she received from Clifford Law legal executive Gulzar Raja Singh Sandhu.

She had admitted to three graft charges and five of wrongful communication of information to Raja. Twenty-three other charges were considered during sentencing.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam said Khatijah had abused her position of trust in committing the offences, which were pre-meditated and had been carried out over a long period. "The accused, being a civil servant of more than 40 years' standing, ought to have known better than to succumb to committing such offences for money."

As a corporate support officer, Khatijah was in charge of recording the movement of Traffic Police investigation papers. Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said Khatijah got into a traffic accident in 2008 and was referred to Raja by a relative. He, in turn, introduced her to his daughter, Ms Viviene Sandhu, a lawyer at Clifford Law.

Two years later, after she had received the payout of her accident claim, Raja approached her at her workplace and asked if she wanted to work with him by selling contact details of people involved in traffic accidents. A few days later, she agreed to his proposal to pay her $200 for each successful referral.

Khatijah would randomly identify accident victims from investigation papers she handled and jot down their particulars.

Her offences came to light in 2013 when a man who had been involved in an accident called the Traffic Police hotline to ask about the status of investigations into the crash. He was connected to Khatijah's office line, and left his particulars for a callback.

Shortly after, he got a call from an "Azizah" claiming to be from Clifford Law. She advised him to consult Ms Sandhu if he wished to seek compensation and said she could arrange a meeting with a paralegal called Raja.

When the man called Khatijah's office line to ask her why she had disclosed his number to an outsider, she told him she was "Azizah". He then reported the matter.

For each charge of wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act, she could have been fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to two years. The maximum punishment for corruption is five years' jail and a $100,000 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Traffic Police clerk jailed for graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe