Trio accused of siphoning over $800,000 from Traffic Police

TWO years after police began investigating several members of the National Safety Council of Singapore, three men were in court yesterday to face charges of criminal breach of trust.

They were former honorary secretary-general Sia Chin Hwee, 58, and former employees Saidon Hassan, 39, and David Kan Tuck Pui, 78.

The trio allegedly siphoned off more than $800,000 from Traffic Police (TP) bank accounts over several years.

The Straits Times understands that none of the funds was used for their personal benefit. Most went to the upkeep of the council, a non-profit body which helped to raise public awareness of road and workplace safety.

The council received funding from the TP, but reportedly suffered cash-flow problems in 2011.

In court yesterday, the trio faced between nine and 21 charges of criminal breach of trust. The amounts involved were between $286,991 and $815,714.

Sia, who now drives a taxi, faces the most charges, while Saidon and Kan, who is wheelchair-bound, face 20 and nine charges respectively involving $695,714 and $286,991.

Sia is accused of helping Saidon dishonestly misappropriate sums of $3,150 to $136,213 from bank accounts belonging to the TP. The dozen alleged offences occurred between December 2007 and April 2008, and the money was used to pay for transactions that were not authorised by the TP. In 2009, Sia again allegedly conspired with Saidon and Kan to commit criminal breach of trust of sums ranging from $6,170 to $67,859.

Court documents said Saidon and Kan instructed a man called Kyaw Khaymar Pine to prepare cheques which Sia signed to pay either Hean Nerng Investments, Tan Boon Liat & Co or the Central Provident Fund Board.

Again, the TP did not authorise these transactions.

Sia is also said to have schemed with Kan on or before Nov 30, 2009, to misappropriate $120,000. Kan allegedly instructed a staff member to prepare a letter authorising the amount to be transferred from the TP's account to another bank account.

Sia told the court he did not get any benefit and was only a signatory of the cheques. Sia and Kan were each offered bail of $15,000, while Saidon's bail was set at $100,000. None of them posted bail yesterday. All three, who were not represented, will be back in court on July 11.

elena@sph.com.sg