SINGAPORE - A former temporary tax assistant at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) was jailed for six months on Monday (Aug 14) for accessing the agency's database without authorisation.
Jasmine Ab Kadir, 35, went into the database 238 times in three days to get information on his wife and family members.
He committed the offences between May 16 and May 23, 2016. He and his wife were going through a divorce at the time. He is now an engineer at the Land Transport Authority.
Jasmine, who is also known as Jake Kadir, pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act in July (2017).
Another 226 charges for similar offences were take into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that Iras uses a database system known as the Inland Revenue Interactive Network (Irin), which is used to manage information related to property, individual income, corporate matters, and goods and services taxes.
Jasmine started working at Iras on Feb 23, 2016. His job scope included attending to phone and e-mail inquiries from taxpayers. He was given an Irin account to access the system, which allowed him to access a person's personal particulars and financial details.
Jasmine's lawyer Amolat Singh told the court that his client was going through a difficult time at the time as his wife had accused him of having an affair.
Mr Singh said: "Matters came to a head when his ex-wife left the matrimonial home suddenly on May 11, 2016... And she had taken the couple's three-year-old son with her. He was at a total loss as to how to locate his son, whom he loves and missed very much."
Mr Singh said Jasmine committed the offences "out of sheer desperation".
On May 16, 19 and 23, 2016, he accessed the system to retrieve information on 14 people and organisations, including his wife, her father, her uncle and the business she owns.
Jasmine was caught after a director at the Iras Department of Individual Income Tax lodged a police report on July 8, 2016.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran on Monday (Aug 14) urged District Judge Dorothy Ling to sentence Jasmine to eight months' jail. He said the offences were difficult to detect and the information accessed was meant to be secret.
Mr Singh, however, pleaded for the minimum possible sentence. He said: "No financial loss was caused to anyone. Equally, there was no financial gain for the accused."