Former NLB manager charged with receiving almost $600,000 in bribes

Ivan Koh Siong Wee, 48, is accused of accepting bribes from Database Resource Services director Low Pok Woen, 49, in exchange for advancing Low's business with NLB.
Ivan Koh Siong Wee, 48, is accused of accepting bribes from Database Resource Services director Low Pok Woen, 49, in exchange for advancing Low's business with NLB. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former National Library Board (NLB) manager was taken to court on Monday (July 23) after he allegedly received nearly $600,000 in bribes from a company director.

Ivan Koh Siong Wee, 48, is accused of accepting the bribes from director of Database Resource Services Low Pok Woen, 49, in exchange for advancing Low's business with NLB.

The two Singaporeans, who were each charged with 56 counts of corruption, are said to have committed the offences between 2005 and 2009.

The monies involved ranged from $80 to $70,000.

According to court documents, on five occasions between Nov 4, 2005, and March 24, 2006, Koh allegedly received from Low bribes totalling $13,500 for senior NLB librarian Vernon Lee Tsu Tsuan.

The Straits Times understands that Mr Lee has not been charged in court.

Koh, represented by counsel Tan Hee Joek, and Low, represented by counsel A. Sangeetha, were each offered bail of $80,000 and their pre-trial conferences will be held on Aug 30.

An NLB spokesman said Koh and Mr Lee resigned and left NLB in November 2014 and April 2006 respectively. “We take a serious view of any allegation of corruption. As the case is before the courts, we have no other comments at this time,” added the spokesman.

In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said that it takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved in such acts.

It added: "Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption."

If convicted of graft, offenders can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000 for each charge.