PIE viaduct collapse

Charges against builder's director dropped

The three charges against Mr Or Toh Wat, group managing director of Or Kim Peow Contractors, were withdrawn yesterday.
The three charges against Mr Or Toh Wat, group managing director of Or Kim Peow Contractors, were withdrawn yesterday.

The group managing director of local construction company Or Kim Peow Contractors (OKP), Mr Or Toh Wat, was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in court yesterday for all three of his charges in relation to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct collapse in July 2017.

Two charges were under the Building Control Act in relation to carrying out unauthorised works, and another charge was under the Workplace Safety and Health Act over the failure to ensure the safety and health of employees.

The three charges were withdrawn a day after OKP was fined $10,000 for carrying out unauthorised strengthening works on the permanent corbels, or support structures, of the PIE viaduct.

On Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said investigations by the Building and Construction Authority found that OKP had conducted unauthorised works on the structure near Upper Changi Road.

The viaduct collapsed on July 14, 2017, resulting in the death of Chinese worker Chen Yinchuan, 31. Ten other workers were hurt, two seriously, during the incident.

Under the Building Control Act, Mr Or, 51, could have been fined up to $200,000, jailed for up to two years, or both, for carrying out the unauthorised works.

In addition, for not notifying the Commissioner of Building Control about the contravention of the Act - despite knowing that the works had not been authorised - he could have been fined up to $20,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both.

The third charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act carries a fine of up to $200,000, two years' jail, or both.

 
 
 

Before the court session yesterday morning, Mr Or was given conditional warnings by officers from the Ministry of Manpower and the Building and Construction Authority, according to his lawyer Navin Shanmugaraj Thevar from Davinder Singh Chambers.

OKP will face trial today to contest its remaining charge over causing the death of the Chinese worker and the injuries of the other 10 workers under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

The cases involving three other individuals allegedly linked to the incident are still pending. They are: Robert Arianto Tjandra, 46, of subcontractor CPG Consultants, OKP project engineer Wong Kiew Hai, 31, and OKP project director Allen Yee Chee Keong, 49.

Yee was also granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal yesterday for carrying out unauthorised works. He still faces a charge over failing to ensure the safety of OKP's employees and obstructing the course of justice by deleting a WhatsApp conversation about the collapse.

Managing director of Calibre Consulting Singapore Leong Sow Hon, who had been appointed by the Land Transport Authority as an accredited checker for the viaduct project, was sentenced to six months' jail early last month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Charges against builder's director dropped'. Print Edition | Subscribe