Fourth man jailed for under-reporting Scoot baggage weight for bribes

Three other customer service associates, who were also charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, were dealt with in 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A fourth man has been jailed for accepting bribes to under-report the weight of Scoot passengers' baggage at Changi Airport.

On Monday (March 1), Mohammad Haris Mohammad Ali, 25, was jailed for two weeks and ordered to pay a penalty of $66 for corruption.

He was previously employed by Sats Asia-Pacific Star as a customer service associate (CSA).

His duties involved weighing passengers' baggage and keying in the weight into the check-in computer system. If the weight exceeded the baggage allowance, he was to advise the passenger to either repack or pay for the excess baggage before it could be checked in for the flight.

But between April and May 2018, Mohammad Haris accepted at least six packets of cigarettes worth $66 from a man known only as Ahmad as a reward for helping Scoot passengers to under-report their baggage weight in the check-in computer system.

Ahmad had taken several passengers to him.

Three other CSAs, who were also charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, were dealt with in 2019.

Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved, 37, was jailed for seven weeks and ordered to pay a penalty of $630. Ayyadurai Karunanithi, 49, was jailed for nine weeks and ordered to pay $500. Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai, 39, was jailed for eight weeks and had to pay a penalty of $800.

Their crimes came to light following a report by The New Paper in 2019 about a baggage touting syndicate operating at Changi Airport.

Scoot and Sats conducted their own investigations following the report.

In a statement on Monday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said bribes to under-report the weight of flight baggage could lead to overloading and compromise flight safety.

"Corruption in the aviation industry can lead to serious and far reaching consequences," it said.

"Corrupt practices of such nature will tarnish the reputation of Singapore's Changi Airport, and more importantly, undermine air travel safety. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and corrupt offenders will have to bear the full brunt of the law."

Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000, or jailed for up to five years, or both.

CPIB looks into all corruption complaints and reports, and can be reached via the following ways:

a. File an e-complaint here;

b. E-mail;

c. Call the duty officer at 1800-376-0000; or

d. Write to the CPIB headquarters at 2 Lengkok Bahru, or Corruption Reporting & Heritage Centre at 247 Whitley Road.

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