Traffic Police clerk jailed for graft and passing accident victims' contact details to law firm

Khatijah A. Manap was jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay a penalty of $2,500 on July 27, 2016.
Khatijah A. Manap was jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay a penalty of $2,500 on July 27, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A clerk with the Traffic Police investigation branch who disclosed contact details of 23 accident victims to an executive at a law firm in exchange for cash was jailed for 18 weeks on Wednesday (July 27).

Khatijah A. Manap, 61, was ordered to pay a penalty of $2,500, being the benefits of her corrupt conduct.

She had admitted to three graft charges and five of wrongful communication of information to Gulzar Raja Singh Sandhu, legal executive with Clifford Law.

District Judge Siva Shanmugam, who took 23 other charges into consideration, said Khatijah abused her position of trust in committing the offences which were pre-meditated and had been carried out over a lengthy period of time.

He said every misdemeanour conducted by a public servant has the effect of lowering, in the eyes of the public, the standing of the institution he or she serves, and unfairly casts a negative light on the public service as a whole.

"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,'' he added.

As a corporate support officer, Khatijah was in charge of recording the movement of Traffic Police investigation papers.

In 2008, she got into a traffic accident and was referred to Raja by a relative of hers. 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. He asked if she wanted to work with him by selling the 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 traffic accident victims from investigation papers that she handled and jot their particulars on a separate piece of paper.

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.

In mitigation, her lawyer Ferlin Jayatissa said his client encountered the services of the law firm because of her own traffic accident. She was happy with its services and was willing to recommend it to others even when she was not receiving gratification from the firm's legal executive.

For each charge of wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act, Khatijah 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.