4 customer service staff accused of taking bribes

From top: Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.
(Above) Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.
From top: Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.
Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, (above) Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.
From top: Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.
Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, Ayyadurai Karunanithi and (above) Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month.

Four customer service associates who allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for under-reporting the weight of passengers' baggage on Scoot Tigerair flights were each charged with one count of corruption yesterday.

Mohammad Haris Mohammad Ali, 23, and Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, 35, both Singaporeans, were working for Sats Asia-Pacific Star, a Sats subsidiary, at the time.

Haris allegedly accepted at least six packets of Winston cigarettes worth about $66 from a man known only as Ahmad between April and May last year.

Gerizim is accused of accepting bribes between January and July last year. He is said to have accepted at least $630 from one Gajendran Ramesh.

Court documents did not give details about Mr Gajendran and did not state where the men purportedly committed the offences.

Haris and Gerizim have since been sacked by the Sats subsidiary, which provides ground handling and in-flight catering services to low-cost carriers in Singapore.

The two other accused - Indian nationals Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, 37, and Ayyadurai Karunanithi, 47 - were working for logistics service provider UBTS.

Between April and May last year, Ayyadurai, a Singapore permanent resident, allegedly accepted at least $500 in bribes from one Saravanan Muthuraja. Mr Saravanan's details were not revealed in court documents.

 
 
 

As for Patel, he is said to have received at least $800 from Gopal Krishna Raju, also an Indian national, between January and October 2016.

Gopal, 37, was charged in court yesterday with giving bribes.

All except for Haris have indicated they intend to plead guilty later this month. Haris' pre-trial conference will be held on May 9.

Bail was set at $2,500 for Patel and $5,000 for the other four.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Sats said that Haris and Gerizim were immediately sacked last July when investigations started.

"We have zero tolerance for any breach of conduct. We have increased our CCTV surveillance and are working closely with the airport authorities to enhance anti-touting measures," it said.

In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said: "Corrupt practices of such nature will not only tarnish the excellent reputation of Singapore's Changi Airport but also, more importantly, it may undermine our safety in air travel."

Offenders convicted of corruption can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline '4 customer service staff accused of taking bribes'. Print Edition | Subscribe