Ex-company co-director and former bank telecom and network manager fined $30,000 each for graft

Chong Ming Sang (left) and Kenny Lim Yong Chye pleaded guilty to a graft charge involving $11,500 and were each fined $30,000. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A telecom and network manager at ABN Amro Bank (Singapore) accepted $17,500 in bribes from a director of one of its vendors as a reward for advancing the business interest of the latter's firm with the financial institution.

A district court heard on Wednesday (Feb 26) that Kenny Lim Yong Chye, 42, took the money from Patrick Kuah Boon Tat, 41, one of the directors of Unified Consultancy (UCPL) which provides data management services.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting said that Kuah and two co-directors of his firm - Chong Ming Sang, 44 and Liew Chun Shiong, 48 - had engaged in a conspiracy to give the bribes to Lim.

On Wednesday, Lim and Chong pleaded guilty to a graft charge involving $11,500 and were each fined $30,000. Each man also faced a second graft charge involving $6,000 but it was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Defence lawyer Tan Cheng Kiong said that Lim has since lost his job. A search on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority's website reveals that Chong is no longer a director at UCPL. He is, however, still a shareholder there. The cases involving Kuah and Liew are still pending.

The court heard that while working for the bank, Lim's team looked after areas such as voice-recording solutions. Lim was also tasked to source for quotations.

UCPL provided services such as data archiving. It had been a vendor of ABN Amro since 2012. Court documents did not state if it is still a vendor now.

Lim and Kuah knew each other through work and they had regular drinking sessions.

DPP Ting said that from June 2015 to May 2018, ABN Amro engaged another vendor called Logicalis Singapore to maintain its "red box" to record all telephone conversations.

In December 2017, Logicalis submitted a quotation for the renewal of its red box service and maintenance contract.

Lim's boss then asked him to source for competitive quotations from other vendors.

During a drinking session the following month, Lim asked Kuah if UCPL was interested to take up the contract.

The DPP added: "After the drinking session, Kenny disclosed Logicalis' quotation price to Patrick via text message. The two then discussed how much UCPL should quote, which would enable UCPL to obtain the red box contract and retain a profit for a company, but still enable Patrick and Kenny to draw secret profits.

"They eventually agreed that an extra amount of $35,000 would be added to UCPL's quote, to be shared equally between the two."

DPP Ting said that Chong and Liew agreed with Kuah's proposal after he told the pair about it.

The contract was later awarded to UCPL and Kuah gave Lim $11,500 as a reward on March 7, 2018, the court heard.

The offences came to light after Liew had a dispute with the co-shareholders and directors of UCPL. He then told the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau about the deal.

Lim has since surrendered the $17,500 which he had unlawfully received.

For each count of corruption, offenders can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.

In a statement to The Straits Times on Wednesday, ABN Amro said that it does not comment on "individual situations".

Its spokesman added: "ABN Amro expects the full commitment of its people in upholding high standards of conduct as required by our code of conduct.

"In general, this means that we can take appropriate action against employees for any breaches in our code of conduct. We apply the same standards to our suppliers and vendors."

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