14 months' jail for role in scam over RSAF contracts

Jeevan Arumugam, 48, pleaded guilty on Aug 13 to five cheating charges involving $48,450.
Jeevan Arumugam, 48, pleaded guilty on Aug 13 to five cheating charges involving $48,450.

Ex-condo manager worked with childhood friend in ruse involving $632,000

The third and final man involved in a case in which a former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer cheated the Government over contracts worth more than $1.8 million has been jailed.

Jeevan Arumugam, 48, was yesterday jailed for 14 months for his role, which involved more than $632,000. He had pleaded guilty on Aug 13 to five cheating charges involving $48,450. Another 62 similar charges involving the remaining sum were considered during sentencing.

The former condominium manager had worked with his childhood friend, Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, in a ruse which involved contracts submitted for repair and maintenance works.

In 2010, Rajkumar, who joined the RSAF as an air force engineer in 1989, approached Jeevan and suggested that they register a company to bid for RSAF jobs.

The court heard that independent contractors would tender for repair and maintenance works, and the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) would pay them once the tasks were completed.

Under their scheme, Jeevan helmed the firm while Rajkumar worked on the technical matters. They agreed that profits would be split equally between them.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang said Jeevan agreed to the arrangement as he wanted the money.

 
 

On Jan 22, 2011, Jeevan incorporated Eagle Flight Aviation Services (EFAS) as a sole proprietorship specialising in aircraft-related maintenance works. DPP Huang said Rajkumar used his knowledge of RSAF's tender process to help Jeevan, and recommended EFAS be awarded the works it had tendered for.

But he dishonestly concealed the fact that he had an interest in the firm. Between April 2011 and June 2012, EFAS was awarded 67 jobs worth $632,528.

In a statement, Mindef said it has "a robust procurement process which incorporates a comprehensive set of internal and external audits".

It added: "During one of our periodic internal audits in July 2015, we detected irregularities and immediately surfaced this case to CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) for investigation."

Mindef reiterated that it has a zero-tolerance policy against corruption.

Rajkumar, who resigned from the RSAF on July 31, 2012, was dealt with in July.

He was sentenced to two years, one month and six weeks in jail for cheating the Government over contracts worth more than $1.8 million. Both Jeevan and Rajkumar have not made any restitution to Mindef.

The other individual involved was also an RSAF engineer.

Sung Way Xiong, 29, was jailed for 10 weeks on May 9 after pleading guilty to a corruption charge and eight offences involving the Official Secrets Act.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline '14 months' jail for role in scam over RSAF contracts'. Print Edition | Subscribe