Businessman gets three months' jail for corruption, files appeal

Goh Choon Hee leaving the Subordinate Court on Feb 11, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Goh Choon Hee leaving the Subordinate Court on Feb 11, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

A businessman was sentenced to three months' jail on Wednesday for offering a $1,000 bribe to induce a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighter not to report him for a traffic offence.

Goh Choon Hee, 50, who owns an apartment rental business, is appealing against the sentence. Bail of $20,000 was offered pending the appeal.

He had admitted to offering the amount to Sergeant Samuel Anandaraj Anthonyraj to help cover up his part in an accident on June 20 last year.

A district court heard that Goh, who was drunk, was driving his Honda Civic car when it was involved in a head-on collision with a taxi at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Hougang Avenue 2 on June 20 last year.

Sgt Anandaraj was on duty when he happened to be around the accident scene and went to help.

He contacted his operations room to ask for police backup. He was attending to taxi driver Loy Chee Kah, 60, and his passenger when Goh tried to leave by reversing his car. Sgt Anandaraj stopped him and signalled him to move his car back to its original spot.

When he knocked on the car window and asked the driver to step out, Goh, whose breath alcohol was later found to have exceeded the legal limit, wound down his window and pleaded with the firefighter to let him leave. But Sgt Anandaraj asked him to step out, suspecting him of drink driving.

Goh walked around unsteadily while complaining he could not afford to have his driving licence revoked as he needed to drive around to collect rentals.

He then retrieved his wallet from the car and showed Sgt Anandaraj a $1,000 note.

He also made hand signals to indicate that the firefighter should let him leave immediately.

Sgt Anandaraj ignored him and reported the matter to his operations room.

Meanwhile, Goh offered $1,000 to Mr Loy for the damage to his taxi. He also told the cabby that he intended to offer $2,000 to the firefighter so that the parties could settle the matter privately. Mr Loy declined.

When the police arrived and arrested Goh for drink driving, he dropped the $1,000 note into the patrol car. It was recovered.

Goh could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years.

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