Woman jailed for bribing medic to deliver items to boyfriend in army detention barracks

Lavannya Rajagopal was jailed for one week on Friday (April 8) for bribing a service medic to deliver items to her boyfriend at the Singapore Armed Forces detention barracks.
Lavannya Rajagopal was jailed for one week on Friday (April 8) for bribing a service medic to deliver items to her boyfriend at the Singapore Armed Forces detention barracks.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A woman was jailed for one week on Friday (April 8) for giving a $50 bribe to a service medic at the Singapore Armed Forces detention barracks (SAFDB) to deliver a mobile phone, a charger and snacks to her boyfriend who was a detainee.

Lavannya Rajagopal, 25, had admitted to giving the bribe to Chai Yit Hong on April 30, 2012, in return for passing the items and snacks to her boyfriend, Mr Ranjan Ganeshan.

She was among seven people hauled to court for bribing Chai, and the last to be dealt with. Chai, 27, was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $750 last year.

A district court heard that some time in April 2012, Lavannya learnt from her friend, Ms Govindammal Ganesan, that there was an SAFDB serviceman, Chai, who would smuggle items to detainees in return for $50.

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

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

She told Chai that 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 her 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.

At all times, she knew that it was against the SAFDB's rules for her to deliver the various items to Mr Ranjan, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Kow.

Her lawyer Revi Shanker said in mitigation that his client, who was 21 at the time, did it because of her boyfriend, and not because she wanted to gain anything in return.

He said she realised the seriousness of the offence and hoped the court could consider calling for a probation report.

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

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

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