Ex-ST Marine executive jailed 16 weeks for conspiracy to make false entries in petty cash vouchers

Former ST Marine president of commercial business Tan Mong Seng was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail on Thursday (April 6). ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - The former president of commercial affairs of ST Marine, who was convicted of 101 charges of abetting the making of false entries in the company's petty cash vouchers, was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail on Thursday (April 6).

Tan Mong Seng, 65, had been found guilty of conspiring with other people from the commercial department of ST Marine to falsely describe the claims as reimbursement of entertainment expenses, when no such entertainment expenses had in fact been incurred.

The illicit payments in the 101 charges amounted to $419,994.

Although he had resigned from his full-time appointment in June 2002 and was engaged as a consultant by ST Marine, Tan held the appointment of president (ship repair business) and continued to remain a senior executive of ST Marine, tasked to improve the profitability of Tuas Shipyard.

The prosecution's case is that he knew that the commission payments were bribes. The purpose of the false descriptions in the petty cash vouchers were to mask the payments in ST Marine's accounts and to conceal the fact that ST Marine was making these illicit payments.

He is the sixth person in ST Marine to have been dealt with. The last person, former group financial controller Ong Teck Liam, 60, has pleaded guilty but has yet to be sentenced.

The prosecution had sought a sentence of at least six months for Tan, saying the offences were serious.

It submitted that there is significant public interest in deterring officers of companies from adopting or following accounting practices that make use of false documents, more so when false documents are used to cover up illicit payments.

A pre-trial conference has been set for April 27 for Tan's remaining 345 charges which were stood down during his trial.

Out on $200,000 bail, he successfully asked for his sentence be deferred until April 11.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined on each charge.

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