Project manager who bribed PUB officer gets 7 months and two weeks' jail

Ganisan Suppiah gave the PUB officer $45,169 over multiple occasions. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A project manager at a water and gas pipeline sub-contractor was approached by a PUB officer with a proposal for a corrupt arrangement.

Ganisan Suppiah agreed to the plan, which would help expedite work for his company, Pipe Works, and ended up giving the officer $45,169 over multiple occasions.

The 52-year-old was sentenced to seven months and two weeks' jail on Monday (Feb 14) after pleading guilty to one corruption charge and one charge over working with PUB officer Jamaludin Mohamed to create a false invoice.

Jamaludin was sentenced to nine months' jail in November last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Charis Low told the court that Jamaludin - who was an assistant engineer at PUB - approached Ganisan some time around 2017.

He was in charge of supervising the works performed by Pipe Works at PUB worksites that were subcontracted to Pipe Works by the main contractors.

Jamaludin asked for "supervision fees" in exchange for helping to facilitate and expedite Pipe Works' works at the sites, which Ganisan agreed to.

The two men agreed that Jamaludin would be paid based on the duration and complexity of the works, and that the amount would be between 2 per cent and 5 per cent of the invoices billed by Pipe Works to the main contractors.

DPP Low said: "(Jamaludin) helped facilitate and expedite Pipe Works' works through means such as asking the main contractor to submit documentation quickly so that (Ganisan's) workers could start work early, or giving (his) workers priority to lay the pipes at the sites."

After Pipe Works received payment from the main contractors, Ganisan passed the agreed fees to Jamaludin in cash between November 2017 and August 2018, through meet-ups at various coffee shops.

Using a company he set up in his son's name, Jamaludin prepared false invoices to bill Pipe Works for fictitious cleaning services at the various worksites, and received the gratification money instead.

In court on Monday, DPP Low asked for a sentence of eight months' jail for Ganisan, acknowledging that Jamaludin had been the one who initiated the arrangement.

Ganisan, who was present in court, was represented by lawyer N. Divanan who asked for a sentence of not more than four months' jail for his client.

Mr Divanan said his client was not a public servant, and that the same aggravating factors that resulted in the sentence for Jamaludin should not apply. He also reiterated that the former PUB officer was the initiator in this case.

DPP Low countered that while Ganisan was not a public servant, he had given a bribe to one, hence a greater sentence should apply than if he had given it to a private citizen.

In a statement on Monday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said it had investigated the matter after PUB referred the case to it.

CPIB noted that it looks into all corruption-related complaints and reports, including anonymous tips, and can be reached via various channels, including e-complaints that can be launched at this website.

Those found guilty of corruption can be jailed for up to five years, fined $100,000, or both.

The maximum jail term can be increased to seven years if it is in relation to a contract or a proposal for a contract with the Government or any public body.

Those found guilty of falsification of accounts can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined or both.

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