Ex-RSAF man jailed in $1.8m cheating case

Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, set up a firm in his wife's name but he was the true owner. He then recommended RSAF jobs to the firm.
Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, set up a firm in his wife's name but he was the true owner. He then recommended RSAF jobs to the firm.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Over two years' jail for cheating Govt, graft and OSA offences

A former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer was sentenced to a total of two years, one month and six weeks' jail yesterday after cheating the Government over contracts worth more than $1.8 million.

Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, had pleaded guilty on May 9 to 19 cheating charges involving more than $150,000. Another 198 counts of cheating involving the remaining amount were taken into consideration during sentencing. He also admitted to one corruption charge and eight offences involving the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ang Siok Chen urged District Judge Edgar Foo to jail Rajkumar for two years and four months, saying Rajkumar had "compromised the procurement process".

Defence lawyer Bernice Leong pleaded for the court to sentence her client to 20 months' jail for cheating, six weeks for corruption and a fine of $12,000 for the offences involving the OSA. She told Judge Foo that Rajkumar completed the tasks linked to the contracts and the jobs were of "satisfactory quality".

Rajkumar joined the RSAF as an air force engineer in 1989. His tasks included raising requests for repair and maintenance works. Independent contractors would tender for these jobs and the Ministry of Defence paid them once the tasks were completed. He resigned from the RSAF on July 31, 2012.

DPP Vincent Ong said that on May 19, 2010, Rajkumar incorporated a firm known as Goodwill Aviations System (GAS), with his wife as the sole director and shareholder. However, he was the true owner and controlled the company's business, said DPP Ong.

Without informing his superiors of his links to GAS, he would make recommendations for jobs to be awarded to the firm. Between October 2010 and June 2012, GAS was awarded 99 jobs with a total value of $868,994.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen urged District Judge Edgar Foo to jail Rajkumar for two years and four months, saying Rajkumar had "compromised the procurement process".

Besides GAS, Rajkumar was also involved in three other companies which tendered for works required by the RSAF. They were Eagle Flight Aviation Services, Duratech Engineering and Global Trade Well. Through a similar method, these three firms were each awarded jobs of between $27,506.87 and $632,528.

After leaving the RSAF, Rajkumar met Sung Way Xiong, now 29, in 2014. The younger man was an RSAF engineer and had access to a platform known as the Enterprise System which contained confidential data such as pricing information for various items. Rajkumar got the younger man to provide him with the prices of items in the RSAF inventory. Sung, who corruptly agreed to be part of the plan, was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail in May.

 

Rajkumar is now out on bail of $60,000 and was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Aug 10 to begin serving his sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-RSAF man jailed in $1.8m cheating case'. Print Edition | Subscribe