Prison officer fined over unauthorised access to data

Firoz Khan Shaik Fazaluddin knew that his boss had been suspended but still helped him find confidential information.
Firoz Khan Shaik Fazaluddin knew that his boss had been suspended but still helped him find confidential information.

A prison officer agreed to help his suspended boss by accessing the Singapore Prison Service computer system without authorisation.

Firoz Khan Shaik Fazaluddin, 41, knew senior chief warder Kobi Krishna Ayavoo had been suspended from duty but still agreed to help him find confidential inmate information using the inmate's identity card number.

Firoz, a staff sergeant attached to Changi Prison's Estate Management Office, was fined $4,000 for computer misuse yesterday.

A district court heard he received a call from Kobi, 51, on July 24 last year asking him to log into the Prisons Operations and Rehabilitation System (Ports).

Ports is an inmate case management system which contains confidential inmate information, including their inmate number, personal particulars and inmate records.

Kobi had wanted to get the inmate number of Chong Keng Chye, 48 - a child batterer behind bars for one of the worst child abuse cases seen in Singapore.

Kobi had been interdicted from service since July 6 last year after being charged with corruption for allegedly trying to get bribes from Chong.

Firoz knew that he was only authorised to access Ports for official duties, and not to retrieve inmate information. He also knew that Kobi no longer had access to Ports.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Loh Hui-min said Firoz nevertheless agreed to help Kobi and passed Chong's inmate number to him.

Kobi has been charged with abetment by instigating Firoz to access the data.

Firoz's lawyer, Mr Rabi Ahmad, said in mitigation that his client did not know why Kobi wanted Chong's inmate number, nor did he know that Kobi had been interdicted over corruption involving that particular inmate.

The lawyer said Firoz was pressured by Kobi, who was his superior. When Firoz asked why Kobi needed the prison inmate's number, Kobi brushed his queries aside and said tersely "just give" and "don't hang up".

Firoz could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to two years for computer misuse.

He is currently suspended.

Chong was sentenced to 20 years' jail - the maximum period of preventive detention - and nine strokes of the cane in October 2005 for abusing his girlfriend's seven-year-old son for more than seven months until his death in 1999, and for cheating five people of $300,000.

Chong also abused the boy's two sisters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'Prison officer fined over unauthorised access to data'. Subscribe