Former condo manager jailed for role in $1.8 million RSAF contract scam


Jeevan Arumugam, 48, was jailed for 14 months for his involvement in a ruse which involved contracts submitted for repair and maintenance works.
Jeevan Arumugam, 48, was jailed for 14 months for his involvement in a ruse which involved contracts submitted for repair and maintenance works.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The third and final man involved in a case which saw a former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer cheat the Government in contracts worth more than $1.8 million has been jailed.

On Monday (Sept 18), Jeevan Arumugam, 48, was jailed for 14 months for his role, which involved more than $632,000.

He had pleaded guilty on Aug 13 to five cheating charges involving $48,450. Another 62 similar charges involving the remaining sum were considered during sentencing.

The former condominium manager had worked with his childhood friend, Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, in a ruse which involved contracts submitted for repair and maintenance works.

In late 2010, Rajkumar, who joined the RSAF as an air force engineer in 1989, approached Jeevan and suggested that they register a company to bid for RSAF jobs.

The court heard that independent contractors would tender for repair and maintenance works, and the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) would pay them once the tasks were completed.

In their scheme, Jeevan helmed the firm while Rajkumar worked on the technical matters. They agreed profits would then be split equally between the pair.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang said Jeevan agreed to the arrangement as he wanted the money.

"The accused knew and agreed that the accomplice would use his position as an RSAF engineer to ensure that their company would be recommended for RSAF works," she added.

On Jan 22, 2011, Jeevan incorporated Eagle Flight Aviation Services (EFAS) as a sole proprietorship specialising in aircraft-related maintenance works.

DPP Huang said Rajkumar used his knowledge of RSAF's tender process to help Jeevan and recommended EFAS be awarded the works it had tendered for.

But he dishonestly concealed the fact that he had an interest in the firm.

Between April 2011 and June 2012, EFAS was awarded 67 jobs worth $632,528.

Defence lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai told the court on Monday that Jeevan committed the offences due to a lapse in judgement.

In a statement, Mindef said it has "a robust procurement process which incorporates a comprehensive set of internal and external audits".

It added: "During one of our periodic internal audits in July 2015, we detected irregularities and immediately surfaced this case to CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) for investigation."

Mindef reiterated that it has a zero-tolerance policy against corruption.

Rajkumar, who resigned from the RSAF on July 31, 2012, was dealt with in July this year.

He was sentenced to two years, one month and six weeks' jail after cheating the Government in contracts worth more than $1.8 million. He had pleaded guilty to 19 cheating charges involving more than $150,000.

Another 198 counts of cheating involving the remaining amount were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Both Jeevan and Rajkumar have not made any restitution to Mindef.

The other individual involved was also an RSAF engineer.

Sung Way Xiong, 29, was jailed for 10 weeks on May 9 after pleading guilty to a corruption charge and eight offences involving the Official Secrets Act.