Former F&B manager at Ikea cleared of corruption charges

Mr Chris Leng Kah Poh (above), a former food and beverage (F&B) manager at Ikea, walked out of court a free man on Wednesday after the High Court acquitted him of corruption.  -- ST FILE PHOTO:  WONG KWAI CHOW 
Mr Chris Leng Kah Poh (above), a former food and beverage (F&B) manager at Ikea, walked out of court a free man on Wednesday after the High Court acquitted him of corruption.  -- ST FILE PHOTO:  WONG KWAI CHOW 

A former food and beverage (F&B) manager at Ikea walked out of court a free man on Wednesday after the High Court acquitted him of corruption.

Mr Chris Leng Kah Poh, 52, had been sentenced to two years' jail in February after he was found guilty of 80 corruption charges for accepting $2.3 million in bribes to favour a food supplier to the furniture chain. He appealed against his conviction and sentence last month.

In clearing Mr Leng, Justice Choo Han Teck said that the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Leng had committed an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

The judge said he found that it was Mr Leng who came up with the arrangement which allowed himself and his two partners to skim money off food contracts with Ikano, which owns the Ikea franchise here. However, the judge said this was not a case of corruption. "What the appellant did was wrong but it was not an offence of corruption under the PCA," said Justice Choo. He added that his decision did not preclude Mr Leng's then employers from taking civil action against him for fraud or breach of fiduciary duties to recover the sums taken from it.