4 men charged with corruption in construction of Customs Operations Command building

(From left) Guo Jiaxun, Lin Haifeng, Lee Mun Cheng, and Rajendran Thiagarajan. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A resident technical officer was allegedly paid close to $5,320 in overtime work in exchange for leniency with the inspections of the mechanical construction works in the Customs Operations Command complex.

Singaporean Lee Mun Cheng did not actually work overtime and was charged in court on Wednesday morning (July 22).

Between September 2017 and September 2018, Lee, 53, is said to have defrauded and falsified papers by signing claim forms which stated that he worked overtime on multiple occasions at the complex when he had not, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

At the time, he worked for CPG Consultants, which inspects mechanical construction works at sites, among other things.

He is also said to have made claims for meals and was reimbursed $65 even when he had not worked on the site located in Bulim Drive in Jurong West.

He allegedly conspired with three others, all of whom worked for Newcon Builders, which was the construction company of the complex at the time.

The three are accused of agreeing and signing, or obtaining the signatures for, claim forms belonging to CPG Consultants to pay Lee in endorsed overtime work in exchange for leniency in the inspections.

Chinese national Guo Jiaxun, 34, was a deputy project manager at Newcon and was charged with abetment after allegedly engaging in the conspiracy.

He is said to have agreed to pay Lee $3,781.75 in total.

Singaporean Lin Haifeng, 45, who was a senior project manager, allegedly agreed to give Lee about $5,320, while mechanical and electrical coordinator Rajendran Thiagarajan, 33, who is an Indian national, is accused of agreeing to give Lee about $5,050.

In total, Lee is said to have received payment of $5,319.78 from various arrangements among the three.

Lee, Guo and Lin were each offered bail of $10,000, while Rajendran was offered bail of $5,000.

Lee and Lin will next be in court on Aug 19, Rajendran on Aug 20 and Guo on Sept 2.

As the offence is in relation to the Customs Operations Command complex, if convicted of corruption, the four men can be fined up to $100,000, jailed for seven years, or both.

This is because the transaction in relation to the offence was a contract with the Government or a public body, or a subcontract to execute work comprised in such a contract.

If convicted of falsifying accounts with the intention to defraud, the men can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined, or both.

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