SINGAPORE - A prison officer unlawfully gave a disruptive inmate information about other inmates, hoping that the inmate would not create problems for him at work.
Muhammad Fattahullah Mohd Nordin, 38, who is no longer a prison officer, was sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail on Wednesday (Aug 24) after he pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act.
He had shared the information with Abdul Karim Mohamed Kuppai Khan, 36, who was also known as “Dio”.
Another former prison officer, Muhammad Zul Helmy Abdul Latip, 33, is also accused of committing similar offences. The cases involving Abdul Karim and Zul Helmy are pending.
Fattahullah, who used to be a sergeant, joined the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) in August 2008.
In 2017 or 2018, he was transferred to Tanah Merah Prison, where he got to know Abdul Karim who was allegedly a secret society headman.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Chong said: “The accused was also aware... that Dio was known to be a disruptive inmate.”
Abdul Karim would ask Fattahullah for information on other inmates, such as their locations in the prisons.
This data was available on an SPS computer system, known as Prison Operations and Rehabilitation System II (Ports II), which Fattahullah had access to.
All SPS staff had received training on the relevant prison standing order over the use of the agency’s computing devices and networks, including Ports II.
DPP Chong said the standing order expressly stated that the unauthorised disclosure, alteration, removal or endangerment of classified material is an offence.
Despite this, Fattahullah repeatedly told Abdul Karim information regarding the other inmates.
“Dio approached the accused to ask for information on the locations of the other inmates on at least five occasions around January to June 2020. Dio would usually check via the intercom in his cell to see who was manning the housing unit control centre,” the DPP added.
“After knowing the accused was manning the scene, Dio would give the accused the inmate’s number and ask (the accused) to check the cluster they were located at.”
On multiple occasions in 2020, Fattahullah accessed Ports II to obtain information without authority and shared it with Abdul Karim.
The court heard that Abdul Karim had even once asked Fattahullah for the home address of a particular inmate. Fattahullah declined this request after realising the inmate was Abdul Karim’s enemy.
Court documents did not state how Fattahullah’s offences came to light, but the SPS later referred the case to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
Fattahullah’s bail was set at $5,000 on Wednesday, and he was told to surrender himself at the State Courts on Sept 5 to begin serving his sentence.
In a statement on Wednesday, SPS said it started internal investigations into the case in November 2020, after several contraband items and a note containing confidential information were found in an inmate’s cell during a routine check.
Its spokesman added: “The investigations revealed that these former prison officers had allegedly accessed and provided confidential information to the inmate on separate occasions. SPS immediately referred the case to the CPIB for their investigation.
“SPS also interdicted them from service, pending the outcome of the investigation. They... subsequently resigned from service.”