SINGAPORE - Eleven men were charged on Tuesday (Jan 9) in connection with the misappropriation of fuel worth more than $2 million from Shell Singapore.
Nine of them, aged between 34 and 59, are alleged to have committed criminal breach of trust at the company's manufacturing site.
They are: Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 36, Juandi Pungot, 41, Cai Zhi Zhong, 34, Tiah Kok Hwee, 41, Koh Choon Wei, 35, Muhammad Ali Muhammad Nor, 51, Mohd Ibrahim K. Abdul Majid, 52, Abdul Latif Ibrahim, 59, and Richard Goh Chee Keong, 48.
Eight of the 11 men are current or former employees of Shell Eastern Petroleum.
Only Cai, Koh and Goh were represented by lawyers while Mohd Ibrahim said he intends to engage counsel.
Muzzafar Ali, Juandi, Cai , Tiah and Koh allegedly conspired with each other to misappropriate 1,260 metric tons of gas oil worth $687,960 belonging to the company last Sunday.
The five are also said to have engaged in a conspiracy by abetting to misappropriate 2,322 metric tons of of gas oil worth $1.3 million at Pulau Bukom on Nov 21 last year.
Muhammad Ali similarly faces a charge of abetment by conspiracy with Muzaffar Ali, Tiah, Cai and Koh to misappropriate 1,260 metric tons of gas oil last Sunday.
Mohd Ibrahim, Abdul Latif and Goh are alleged to have abetted in a conspiracy to dishonestly misappropriate 801.86 metric tons of gas oil worth $437,816 between 6.50pm and 8.05pm last Friday).
In a connected case, two Vietnamese nationals, Nguyen Duc Quang, 46, and Dang Van Hanh, 37, are accused of abetment by conspiracy to dishonestly receive about 1,260 metric tons of oil which they had reason to believe was stolen.
The charge further states that the oil was transferred from Pulau Bukom to the vessel Prime South on Sunday.
The 11 were among 17 suspects arrested between Sunday and Monday after the company made a report in August last year.
During simultaneous raids islandwide, police seized, among other things, cash amounting to about $3.05 million and a tanker weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes.
On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew sought a week's remand at Central division for all 11, saying there are likely to be further charges. Investigations are ongoing.
District Judge Christopher Goh adjourned the nine men's case to Jan 15, while District Judge Adam Nakhoda fixed the Vietnamese nationals' case for mention on Jan 16.
A spokesman for Shell told The Straits Times on Monday that the men arrested included "a limited number of Shell employees".
Shell Singapore said it is fully cooperating with the police.
"Shell reported a suspected theft to the authorities after we became aware that we may have been the victim of a crime," said the spokesman. "We anticipate a short delay in the supply operations at Bukom, but at this point we expect to continue to meet our contractual supply obligations to customers."
The spokesman added that all Shell employees are expected to comply with the company's code of conduct and to uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour.
"Breaches are not tolerated and carry serious consequences, up to and including dismissal," said the spokesman.
Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that nine of the accused are employees of Shell. This is incorrect. We are sorry for the error.