Construction manager charged over graft, cheating offences involving $9.8m

SINGAPORE - A construction manager was charged in court on Friday over corruption and cheating offences involving around $9.8 million.

Harish Singhal, 59, who was an employee at Modec Offshore Production Systems (Singapore) at the time, is accused of accepting bribes, committing money laundering, and deceiving his employer into paying nearly $8 million to another company.

Modec is a global supplier and operator of offshore floating platforms.

Between 2011 and 2016, Harish allegedly conspired with four others to accept bribes totalling US$942,000 (S$1.3 million) from Kottaki Srinivas Patnaik, the director of Neptune Ship Management.

The bribe was a reward for advancing the business interest of Neptune with Modec. 

Harish is also said to have conspired with Kottaki and three others to disguise around US$313,000 of benefits from criminal conduct in the form of fictitious invoices for payments between the two companies.

Further, he allegedly conspired with Modec’s chief engineer Gopinath Kuppusamy, 52, to cheat Modec into paying around $8 million to Staghorn Marine Services.

Harish faces six charges for graft and four for cheating. Kottaki and Gopinath were also charged on Friday for graft related offences.

In a statement on Friday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said any person convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for up to five years.

Those convicted of cheating can be fined and jailed for up to 10 years.

“Companies are strongly advised to put in place robust procedures in areas such as procurement and internal audit to prevent falling victim to corrupt acts by their employees,” said CPIB.

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