Illegal data access: Ex-Iras temporary worker jailed

A former temporary tax assistant at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) was yesterday jailed for six months for accessing the agency's database without authorisation.

Jasmine Ab Kadir, 35, went into the database 238 times over three days to get information on his wife and family members. He committed the offences between May 16 and 23 last year. He and his wife were going through a divorce at the time.

Jasmine, who is also known as Jake Kadir, pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act in July.

Another 226 charges for similar offences were take into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that Iras uses a database system called the Inland Revenue Interactive Network (Irin) to manage information related to property, individual income, corporate matters, and goods and services tax.

Jasmine started working at Iras on Feb 23 last year. His job scope included attending to phone and e-mail inquiries from taxpayers.

He was given an Irin account to access the system, which allowed him to access a person's personal particulars and financial details.

Jasmine's lawyer Amolat Singh said his client was going through a difficult time then as his wife had accused him of having an affair.

Mr Singh said: "Matters came to a head when (she) left the matrimonial home suddenly on May 11, 2016... And she had taken the couple's three-year-old son with her. He was at a total loss as to how to locate his son, whom he loves and missed very much." Mr Singh said Jasmine committed the offences "out of sheer desperation".

On May 16, 19 and 23 last year, he accessed the system to retrieve information on 14 people and organisations, including his wife, her father, her uncle and the business she owns.

Jasmine was caught after a director at the Iras Department of Individual Income Tax lodged a police report on July 8last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran yesterday urged District Judge Dorothy Ling to sentence Jasmine to eight months' jail. He said the offences were difficult to detect and the information accessed was meant to be secret.

Mr Singh, however, pleaded for the minimum possible sentence. He said: "No financial loss was caused to anyone. Equally, there was no financial gain for the accused." Jasmine is now an engineer at the Land Transport Authority.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2017, with the headline 'Illegal data access: Ex-Iras temporary worker jailed'. Print Edition | Subscribe