ICA officer charged with accepting bribes from foreigners for extending their stay

The Singapore Immigrations and Customs checkpoint at Tuas Second Link, as seen from Johor, Malaysia. Mohammed Mustaffa Bin Mohabat Ali, an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officer stationed at the Tuas Second Link, was charged on Wednesda
The Singapore Immigrations and Customs checkpoint at Tuas Second Link, as seen from Johor, Malaysia. Mohammed Mustaffa Bin Mohabat Ali, an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officer stationed at the Tuas Second Link, was charged on Wednesday with corruption. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

An Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer was charged on Wednesday for corruption.

Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali allegedly helped foreigners prolong their stay in Singapore by facilitating the granting of visit passes. In return, he charged "fees" of between $250 and $550 from the foreigners, who were all women from Vietnam and the Philippines.

Mustaffa, who has since been suspended from duty, faces 22 counts of corruptly accepting gratification, among other charges. He had also roped in three other ICA officers who have since been sacked from the agency.

He was attached to Tuas Checkpoint as a Primary Screening Officer and his duties included assessing whether foreigners meet entry requirements, inspecting travellers' passports and granting visit passes to foreigners to enter and remain in Singapore.

Investigations revealed that between October 2010 and June 2011, the accused allegedly accepted money in return for granting visit passes to foreign women for their stay in Singapore. He worked mainly with Philibert Tng Hai Swee, who would refer the foreigners to him. Tng would provide transportation to the foreigners, drive them through the checkpoint and seek out Mustaffa to grant the visit passes when he was on duty at the checkpoint.

The Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau uncovered his wrongdoings in mid-2011.