Cleaner jailed for taking bribes from waste collector to illegally dispose of rubbish

SINGAPORE - A self-employed waste collector, wanting to save costs, decided to illegally get rid of his rubbish at a bin centre instead of an authorised National Environment Agency (NEA) collection site, a district court heard on Friday (June 1).

Phua Geok Seng, 61, then approached Malaysian cleaner M Fadillah Abd Karim and sought his help in disposing of the trash at the bin centre at Block 744, Bedok Reservoir Road.

The court heard that between June and October last year, the Singaporean gave Fadillah about $850 in bribes in exchange for allowing him to dump his waste materials there.

The 50-year-old cleaner was jailed for four weeks on Friday and ordered to pay a penalty of $850 after pleading guilty to two corruption charges.

He will have to spend another eight days behind bars if he is unable to pay the penalty.

Seven other charges for similar offences were considered during sentencing.

The case involving Phua is still pending.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said that Fadillah was working for cleaning service company Hai Leng Contract at the time of the offences.

The firm had been contracted by Aljunied Town Council to clean areas around Blocks 740 to 747 in Bedok Reservoir Road.

The DPP said Phua had an agreement with several businesses at Tampines Industrial Park A to collect rubbish made up of general waste such as disposed food, cardboard boxes and television sets.

He was supposed to get rid of them at NEA's waste collection site in Defu Lane near Hougang but decided to save costs and dump them at the bin centre instead.

DPP Thiagesh told District Judge Ng Peng Hong that this was against NEA's regulations, which require waste to be safely handled and disposed of at authorised sites.

Phua knew that it was illegal to dump waste items at the bin centre, the court heard.

The town council had also prohibited anyone who was not from the area to dump rubbish there.

Hai Leng Contract had earlier told Fadillah that the disposal of large pieces of waste at the bin centre could damage its compactor .

In spite of this, Fadillah agreed to allow Phua to dispose of his rubbish in exchange for cash, said the DPP.

For each count of corruption, he could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.