Director jailed 12 weeks over bribes for contracts

Company director Ngiam Chee Chong had pleaded guilty to seven corruption-related charges.
Company director Ngiam Chee Chong had pleaded guilty to seven corruption-related charges.

In a bid to secure business contracts involving projects with government agencies, a company director paid over $30,000 in bribes.

Ngiam Chee Chong, 45, was jailed for 12 weeks yesterday, having pleaded guilty to seven corruption-related charges earlier.

Another 13 similar charges were taken into consideration by the court during sentencing.

Ngiam was the sole director of Emersion IT Services, which is in the business of setting up and implementing network services.

Between 2016 and 2018, he paid a total of $37,400 to Teo Joo Tye, 52, who was then a senior technical services manager with IT firm NCS.

He did so to reward Teo for recommending Emersion as a subcontractor of NCS for 13 projects, which involved government agencies such as Singapore Customs. These projects were subsequently awarded to Emersion.

Teo was in a position where his recommendations carried weight.

Ngiam had also agreed to pay Teo a total of $9,300 for six other projects, for which Emersion was recommended and later awarded.

But he did not pay those bribes in the end due to their negative impact on Emersion's profit margins.

In 2017, Ngiam also agreed to give bribes to 45-year-old Loh Kum Ming, who was a sales specialist with Singtel at that time.

Tay Yew Kiat, 49, the business development manager of Emersion then, had told Loh that Ngiam would be willing to offer cash or anything of monetary value if he could recommend Emersion to Singtel for projects involving public Wi-Fi programme Wireless@SG

Ngiam said that "anything could be arranged" for Loh, court documents state.

Agreeing to the arrangement, Loh told Tay to lower Emersion's existing quotations for two projects and recommended the revised quotations to his superior.

He also advised Ngiam on the quotations for two other projects in 2018, before also recommending them to his superior.

The court heard that Emersion was awarded all four projects.

The cases for Teo and Loh are still pending. Tay has been fined $30,000.

For each of his offences, Ngiam could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined up to $100,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2020, with the headline Director jailed 12 weeks over bribes for contracts. Subscribe