Two ex-ICA staff jailed for graft linked to granting of visit passes for foreigners

Two former Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) specialists were each jailed for four months on Thursday for accepting bribes from their then colleague to facilitate the granting of social visit passes for foreigners to enter Singapore.

Mohamed Nazrul Noor Mohamed, 34, and Lukmanulhakim Samsun, 29, were also ordered to pay a penalty of $100 and $50 respectively.

Nazrul pleaded guilty to accepting $100 from his former colleague Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali in return for granting 30-day social visit passes to two Filipinas at Tuas Checkpoint on May 8, 2011.

Lukmanulhakim admitted to a similar charge of accepting $50 from Mustaffa on Jan 10 that year to grant a visit pass to a Filipina.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ilona Tan said the duties of the duo included assessing whether foreigners met entry requirements before granting visit passes to them for their stay in Singapore.

Investigation showed that in September or October 2010, Mustaffa hatched a scheme to earn money by helping foreigners to get fresh social visit passes by performing U-turns. The "U-turn" refers to the practice of foreigners here going to Malaysia for a short period and then re-entering Singapore so their social visit passes are extended.

Nazrul and Lukmanulhakim were among four specialists whom Mustaffa had recruited to help him in the scheme.

To facilitate the foreigners in doing a U-turn, Mustaffa engaged the help of one Philibert Tng Hai Swee and two others to ferry the foreigners on a round trip between Singapore and Malaysia for a fee. Mustaffa would pay Tng $50 a trip for ferrying the foreigners.

Mr Tng would refer foreigners who wanted to obtain fresh visit passes and extend their stay to Mustaffa who charged them $250 to $450 per extension.

Ms Tan said generally, Mustaffa tried to arrange for the foreigners to complete the U-turns on the days when he was on duty at Tuas.

When he was not on duty, he would direct the accused or the other two ICA specialists to grant fresh social visit passes to the foreigners while he acted as the liaison point between the drivers and the relevant ICA specialist.

The accused granted the foreigners sent by Mustaffa new visit passes without doing the requisite checks.

The accused, Mustaffa and the other two ICA specialists also flouted rules when they used their mobile phones to communicate with each other whenever they executed their scheme.

Last December, Mustaffa pleaded guilty to 12 corruption charges and was jailed a total of 21 months. The 29-year-old, who had 23 other similar charges considered, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $8,050.

The cases against the other two ICA specialists are pending. Mr Tng passed away in October 2011 before investigations into his role could be completed.

The maximum penalty for corruption is five years' jail and a $100,000 fine.