Jail for two siblings in $2.3m bribery case involving tenders

A pair of siblings who conspired to secure tenders for two companies in China in exchange for bribes amounting to about 11.3 million yuan (S$2.3 million) were sentenced to jail on Monday.

Teo Chu Ha, also known as Henry Teo, 72, was sentenced to four years and two months' jail. His younger sister Judy Teo Suya Bik, 68, was sentenced to three years and five months' jail.

She was also ordered to pay more than $2 million, the amount she had received, as a penalty. If she is unable to pay the amount, she will spend an additional 18 months behind bars .

In August last year, District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam found the two Singaporeans guilty of 50 counts of engaging in a conspiracy to commit graft. He also found them guilty of one count each of dealing with the benefits of criminal conduct.

This is because Henry Teo transferred more than $700,000, which formed part of the bribes, from his sister's bank account to his own.

The court earlier heard that the tenders were awarded by technology firm Seagate Technology International, where Henry Teo worked as senior director of logistics.

He had used his position in the firm and also his position as a member of the committee awarding the tenders to obtain confidential information belonging to Seagate.

His sister then used the information to help Shanghai Long-Distance Transportation (SLT) and Feili International Transport (FIT) obtain the tenders.

According to court documents, Seagate held a tender for trucking routes in China in 2006 and 2009. On both occasions, Henry Teo was in the committee awarding the tender.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Navin Naidu and Ang Siok Chen had said in their submissions that Judy Teo used the confidential information her brother provided "as an advantage" to assist SLT and FIT in securing the tenders.

In exchange, she received a 10 per cent "commission" of the revenue they earned based on payments made by Seagate.

The commission was paid to her as "consultancy fees", under a contract entered between the two companies in China and another company, Twin Palms.

The DPPs also said the siblings used the bank account of Judy Teo's former boyfriend to receive the bribes.

The siblings intend to appeal against their conviction and sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'Jail for two siblings in $2.3m bribery case involving tenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe