Jail for trading firm's boss who gave $212k in bribes for contracts

The boss of a local metal trading company who offered bribes to secure contracts now faces time behind bars.

Teo Siong Khoon, 59, director and shareholder of Agrotec Interimex Trading, gave almost $212,000 in bribes to Goh Peng Choy, procurement executive of Advanced Material Engineering (AME), between September 2006 and April 2009.

For three counts of breaching the Prevention of Corruption Act, Teo was sentenced to a total of seven months in jail yesterday.

AME - wholly owned by Singapore Technologies Kinetics - designs and manufactures weapons, advanced protective materials and guided system components.

According to court documents, Teo knew Goh could help Agrotec get contracts from AME, as the latter was in charge of sourcing suppliers. Goh suggested some time during 2005 to 2006 that he could help Agrotec secure future orders from AME, by telling Teo how much to quote during tenders, in return for a commission. Teo agreed as he wanted to maintain business with AME, and was afraid Goh might not invite him to quote for the AME contracts if he refused.

Under this agreement, Agrotec was awarded contracts from AME. Between 2006 and 2009, the business volume between the two firms totalled more than $6.4 million.

In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay noted the large amount of gratification involved, along with the sustained and persistent offending over a prolonged period.

Upon receiving payment from AME for each purchase order, Teo would hand plastic bags full of cash to Goh within two weeks at Agrotec's office. It was not mentioned in court how the duo were caught.

In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay noted the large amount of gratification involved, along with the sustained and persistent offending over a prolonged period. "Another disquieting aspect of this case would be the harm caused where the corrupt actions involved a strategic industry," he said.

The judge added that such corrupt relations can undermine the public's confidence in the industry.

Goh was sentenced to 22 months' jail in February 2014.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline 'Jail for trading firm's boss who gave $212k in bribes for contracts'. Print Edition | Subscribe