Malay-Muslim NGO manager jailed 20 weeks for cheating

Majlis Pusat exec conspired with 3 others to dupe govt bodies of $188k for Hari Raya fest

Former manager of Malay-Muslim non-governmental organisation Majlis Pusat Mr Gazaly Malek jailed 20 weeks for cheating.
Former manager of Malay-Muslim non-governmental organisation Majlis Pusat Mr Gazaly Malek jailed 20 weeks for cheating. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Over two years, the manager of a Malay-Muslim non-governmental organisation schemed with three others to dupe four government organisations into giving $188,000 more than they would have for a Hari Raya light-up event.

The four men allegedly conspired to inflate the costs of the annual event and celebrations in Geylang, which were organised by Majlis Pusat Singapura since 1996.

Yesterday, Gazaly Malek, 60, the first of the four to be dealt with, was jailed for 20 weeks. He had pleaded guilty before his trial began last week.

Gazaly pleaded guilty to three charges of scheming to cheat. Five more counts of the same charge and two charges of falsifying income and expenditure statements were considered in sentencing.

Another co-conspirator in the scheme, Salleh Sam, 50, who initially wanted to claim trial, yesterday also pleaded guilty.

Salleh was the manager of MCC Events and Production, and 7M Natural Sources - vendors of the light-up event in 2011 and 2012.

Salleh pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiring to cheat, and one count of managing a business as an undischarged bankrupt. He admitted to five other related charges.

The prosecution is asking the court that Salleh be given the same sentence as Gazaly.

Salleh's case will be mentioned in court again today.

The case against the other men, Saharudin Kassim, 54, and Abdul Ghani Tahir, 52, is pending trial.

A district court heard that it was Saharudin, the secretary-general and later, president of Majlis Pusat, who hatched the plan to inflate the submissions to the funding agencies to induce them to provide their maximum amount of grants.

The agencies are: the Singapore Tourism Board, the National Population and Talent Division, the Singapore Totalisator Board, and the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, which is now known as the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Gazaly, Salleh and then finance secretary Ghani agreed to help carry out the plan.

Each of them played a role in inflating the figures in invoices given by MCC and two other companies involved in the light-up in 2011 and 2012 - Lemonseed and Global Astir. They then submitted the inflated invoices to the government agencies.

Lemonseed's directors were Ghani and Mr Haji Nasir Aman, Majlis Pusat's deputy president between 2011 and 2012. Global Astir is fully owned by Majlis Pusat.

For the 2012 light-up event, 7M Natural Sources was also involved.

Gazaly typed up the marked-up invoices for Lemonseed and Global Astir on his computer.

Salleh, the court heard, inflated the invoices for the companies he managed, MCC and 7M.

The maximum penalty for cheating is three years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Malay-Muslim NGO manager jailed 20 weeks for cheating'. Print Edition | Subscribe