7 weeks' jail for 2nd ex-prison officer who shared inmates' information with prisoner

Muhammad Zul Helmy Abdul Latip pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Hoping a disruptive prisoner would not create issues for him at his workplace, a prison officer shared with the man classified information, including the contact number of another inmate's girlfriend.

Muhammad Zul Helmy Abdul Latip also shared with Abdul Karim Mohamed Kuppai Khan, 36, who was a secret society headman, the age of an inmate from a rival gang.

Zul, 33, is no longer a prison officer. He had obtained the information he shared from the Singapore Prison Service's (SPS) computer system, which is known as the Prison Operations Rehabilitation System II (Ports II).

He was on Friday sentenced to seven weeks' jail after pleading guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act.

Zul was the second former prison officer to be sent to jail in recent weeks after sharing other inmates' information with Abdul Karim.

On Aug 24, one of his former colleagues, Muhammad Fattahullah Mohd Nordin, 38, was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act.

The case involving Abdul Karim, whose nickname is "Dio", is pending.

Zul, who last held the rank of Sergeant 2, joined the SPS in November 2010 and was later posted to Tanah Merah Prison.

He knew that the SPS stored inmates' information in an internal electronic system which he could access.

Zul also knew that it was classified information and not to be shared with other inmates upon request.

He was later asked to understudy Fattahullah.

During his understudy in early September 2020, Zul met Abdul Karim who was then serving a 15-year sentence over a drug-related offence.

Soon after, Abdul Karim started asking Zul for information on other inmates. The data was available on Ports II, to which Zul had access.

On Oct 13, 2020, Abdul Karim used his cell intercom to make a call to the housing unit control centre and Zul responded to it.

Abdul Karim then asked Zul for the age of another inmate, who came from a rival gang.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Chong said: "The accused checked the details... by accessing (the rival gang member's) case file in the SPS system.

"The accused waited for his colleague to leave before calling Dio and informing him of (the man's) age."

Zul was performing his rounds a week later when Abdul Karim asked him for the contact number of another inmate.

Zul logged into Ports II and realised that the inmate in question did not have a contact number. Only the contact details of the man's girlfriend were reflected in the system.

Zul gave the woman's contact number to Abdul Karim who wrote down the information on a piece of paper.

DPP Chong told the court: "On Oct 30, 2020, Dio's cell was searched. Amongst other things, a handwritten note with two addresses and two contact numbers, including (the woman's) mobile number, were discovered. This eventually led to the discovery of the offences."

Zul was represented by lawyers Mohamed Arshad and Patrick Fernandez.

In their mitigation plea, the pair from Fernandez law firm asked for their client to be sentenced to three weeks' jail and given a fine of $5,000.

They said: "Zul Helmy is remorseful. To demonstrate his remorse, (he) has elected to plead guilty."

In an earlier statement, SPS said it started internal investigations into the cases involving Zul and Fattahullah in November 2020.

Its spokesman added: "SPS also interdicted them from service, pending the outcome of the investigation. "

The pair subsequently resigned from service, said the SPS.

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