Ex-ship management company director pleads guilty to 5 corruption charges

Ananthakrishnan Nanda pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges on Sept 22. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - He was a director at a ship management company who controlled other businesses when he entered into an arrangement to obtain money corruptly.

On Thursday, Ananthakrishnan Nanda, 51, was convicted of five corruption charges and two under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act after he pleaded guilty to them.

In court documents, Deputy Public Prosecutors Victoria Ting and David Menon said that Ananthakrishnan, an Indian national, was the managing director of Aoxing Ship Management Singapore, a department of Sinochem Shipping Singapore that charters and operates ships.

His responsibilities included liaising with other companies for goods and services to be supplied to the Sinochem vessels.

At the time, Ananthakrishnan also controlled other companies not affiliated with Aoxing and Sinochem, including Sakura Ship Management, Master Supplies & Logistics and Master Manning Services & Logistics.

In November 2015, he was introduced to Mr Kunal Chadha, the director and general manager of Marine Care Singapore, which supplies marine chemicals and equipment for the cleaning and maintenance of ships.

At that time, Aoxing was planning to start a tank cleaning and optimisation programme to increase the cleanliness and efficiency of Sinochem vessels.

On Dec 3, 2015, Ananthakrishnan met Mr Kunal to discuss engaging Marine Care as a vendor for Aoxing. The men agreed that in return for deals from Aoxing and Sinochem, Marine Care would pay Ananthakrishnan's company Sakura 10 per cent of the money it received from Aoxing and Sinochem.

"This was a reward paid to the accused for advancing Marine Care's business interests with Aoxing," said the prosecution.

Shortly after the meeting, Ananthakrishnan recommended Marine Care to his immediate supervisor, and on Dec 18, 2015, Marine Care was registered as an approved Sinochem vendor.

Ananthakrishnan then directed his subordinates to use Marine Care as a preferred chemical supplier.

As proposed by Mr Kunal, every quarter, Marine Care would collate a list of all invoices it issued to Aoxing and inform Ananthakrishnan and a Sakura director what was 10 per cent of the total amount invoiced.

While Ananthakrishnan had initially agreed on the 10 per cent payout to Sakura, he eventually arranged for his other company, Master Supplies & Logistics, to issue invoices corresponding to that amount.

The invoices bore the letterhead of Master Supplies & Logistics but stipulated that payments should be made to the bank accounts of Master Manning.

While the invoices stated that the 10 per cent was for technical services rendered to Marine Care, the latter never received such services, said DPP Menon.

After ensuring that Aoxing fully paid Marine Care the amount shown on the vendor's invoices, Marine Care would pay Master Manning 10 per cent of that amount, as reflected in Master Manning's invoices.

Marine Care would not pay Master Manning until Aoxing had completed the payment.

Among the amount Marine Care transferred to Master Manning was a sum of US$9,416.68 (S$13,324).

Ananthakrishna is due to appear next in court in February 2023 for his mitigation and the prosecution's sentencing submissions to be heard.

Court documents do not say if there are cases against others involved in this case.

For each corruption charge, he can be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $100,000 or both.

He can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000 or both for each offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

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