Ex-principal fired from public service

Koh lied about his affair with a school vendor and was sentenced to four weeks' jail in January.
Koh lied about his affair with a school vendor and was sentenced to four weeks' jail in January.

A former River Valley High School (RVHS) principal, who was sentenced to four weeks' jail in January after lying about an extramarital affair with a school vendor to whom he awarded contracts, has been dismissed from public service.

Koh Yong Chiah, who was 61 when sentenced to jail, was once one of Singapore's "super principals".

A notice posted yesterday in the online edition of the Government Gazette said that Koh, a Senior Education Officer Superscale G, had been dismissed from the public service with effect from Sept 14.

On Nov 24, 2005, the father of two gave false information to an officer from the Ministry of Education (MOE), asserting that he was not having an affair with school service provider Ivy Loke Wai Lin.

Koh was then principal of Jurong Junior College (JJC), a post he held from 2003 until 2009, when he became principal of RVHS.

Koh and Ms Loke, who was 55 as of January this year, met in 2000 while he was the principal of the former Chinese High School (CHS). Their first sexual encounter was during a CHS community service trip to Lijiang, China, in 2001. Both were married.

Between May and November 2005, in his capacity as the final approving authority for contracts at JJC, Koh awarded six contracts worth $162,491 to Ms Loke's firm, Education Architects 21 (EA 21).

He did not disclose the nature of his relationship with Ms Loke to the quotation approval panel.

Between 2005 and 2012, he approved $3.4 million worth of contracts to EA 21 and Education Incorporation, another of Ms Loke's firms.

Dubbed one of the "super principals" when he was appointed cluster superintendent in 1999, Koh was, at one point in his career with the education service, overseeing 11 schools in the south zone.

The Nanyang University graduate began his teaching career at Catholic High School in 1981, eventually becoming Kranji Secondary's principal. He made the news in 1999 when he was named principal of CHS.

When the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau started investigating him in 2012, he was redeployed to the MOE to assist in curriculum development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-principal fired from public service'. Print Edition | Subscribe