Former warehouse supervisor jailed after misappropriating goods worth over $2 million

SINGAPORE - As a warehouse supervisor, he was supposed to monitor daily operations at his workplace.

But Ismawi Ismail, who worked for C. Steinweg Warehousing, abused the trust placed in him and, in just six months, misappropriated nearly 130 tonnes of nickel cathode plates worth more than $2 million stored at the Jurong Port Road warehouse.

He also bribed colleagues to facilitate the removal of the plates from the premises.

Ismawi, 41, was jailed for seven years on Monday (Jan 21) after pleading guilty to seven counts of corruption and one count of criminal breach of trust.

The court heard that sometime in 2017, a man known only as Vijay approached Ismawi at a canteen near the warehouse and asked if he had anything to sell.

The warehouse supervisor replied that he could sell some empty wooden pallets which were used to hold goods.

In June that year, Ismawi told a fellow warehouse supervisor, Zainal Supardi, 58, of the deal to sell the items and asked the older man to help by covering a closed circuit television camera at their workplace.

Ismawi also asked Zainal to alert a security officer, Letchumanan L. Manickam, 59, about the matter.

Letchumanan, a Malaysian who worked for APRO Asian Protection, was instructed to allow unauthorised lorries to enter and exit the warehouse premises without recording their details or checking their contents upon departure.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Sng said: "This was necessary because the empty wooden pallets belonged to Steinweg and the accused was not authorised to remove them from the warehouse or to sell them.

"On the part of the accused, he would enter the warehouse office and disarm the warehouse alarm using the passcode that had been assigned to him."

Vijay's associate, known only as Lingam, later approached Ismawi and asked if he had anything else to sell.

Despite having no authority to do so, Ismawi agreed to sell Lingam the nickel cathode plates stored at the warehouse. The DPP said that Ismawi later roped in another colleague, warehouse administrator Mohd Ali Hanafiah Mahamod, 47, who agreed to take part in the plan.

Ismawi misappropriated the nickel cathode plates between June and December 2017. DPP Sng told the court that he gave Zainal $600 in bribes between September and November that year. Letchumanan received $2,500 from June to November 2017, the court heard.

Court documents did not state the amount Ismawi earned from selling the nickel cathode plates. He has made no restitution to C. Steinweg Warehousing.

The cases against Zainal, Letchumanan and Ali are still pending.

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