SINGAPORE - A former deputy group director of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) was charged on Friday (July 24) with corruption involving $1.24 million in loans from contractors and sub-contractors.
Henry Foo Yung Thye, 46, who had a gambling habit and had chalked up debts, allegedly obtained gratification in the form of loans from contractors and sub-contractors of the LTA between 2014 and 2019.
Sometime early last year, the Singaporean also allegedly attempted to obtain gratification in the form of a loan of around $30,000 from a sub-contractor of the LTA in order to advance its business interest with the agency.
Foo also allegedly cheated his colleagues at the LTA into extending him loans totalling about $726,500, by dishonestly concealing from them that the loans were intended to service his gambling habit and debts.
In total, he faces 36 charges. His bail was set at $250,000.
Six individuals and a company who provided Foo with the loans to advance their business interests were also charged on Friday.
The individuals are: Chinese national Cai Jungang, 56, director of Tritech Engineering & Testing (Singapore); Singaporean Zhang Xihu, 52, director of MEPT Engineering; Singaporean Pay Teow Heng, 52, director of Tiong Seng Contractors; Singaporean Pek Lian Guan, 55, managing director of Tiong Seng Contractors; Korean national Ro Sungyoung, 48, project manager of Daewoo Engineering & Construction; and Korean national Kim Young-Gyu, 51, project director of Daewoo Engineering & Construction.
They were each offered bail, with the lowest set at $25,000 for Kim and the highest at $200,000 each for Pek and Pay.
China Railway Tunnel Group's Singapore branch (CRTG) was also charged with three counts of corruptly giving gratification in the form of loans of about $220,000 to Foo as an inducement to advance the company's business interest with the LTA.
Another person was also charged on Friday in relation to offences involving the payments from CRTG.
Singaporean Chen Xuguang, 53, was director of Tong Sheng Construction & Trading when he allegedly abetted the falsification of Tong Sheng invoices as a sub-contractor of CRTG. He was offered bail of $10,000.
The board of Tiong Seng Holdings said in a Singapore Exchange announcement on Friday that both Pek and Pay will relinquish their current executive roles in the company from July 31.
Pek will remain as advisor to the group, while Pay will be operational consultant to Tiong Seng Civil Engineering for a year. The board also said it will reassess this arrangement "where appropriate in due course".
Both men will be taking "rigorous steps to defend the charges", it added.
Anyone who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000 or jailed for up to five years, or both.
If the offence is related to a matter or contract with the Government or a public body, the maximum jail term for each offence can be increased to seven years' jail.
Those who are convicted of cheating or the falsification of accounts can be fined and jailed up to 10 years.
In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and fraud.
It added that it looks into all corruption complaints and reports, including anonymous ones.
In response to media queries, an LTA spokesman said Foo is a former employee of the agency, but did not say when he left.
"As the case is now before court, we are unable to comment on the matter," the spokesman added.