Sabana Reit co-founder fined $8k for harassment

Tay Chiew Sheng sent anonymous letters to organisations which one Ms Ng Shin Ein had dealings or was associated with.
Tay Chiew Sheng sent anonymous letters to organisations which one Ms Ng Shin Ein had dealings or was associated with.

The former chief strategy officer and head of investor relations of Sabana Real Estate Investment Management was fined $8,000 yesterday for harassment.

Tay Chiew Sheng, 45, a co-founder of Sabana Reit, pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment.

Another two similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The court heard that between August and October last year, Tay sent out letters to multiple organisations alleging incompetence on the part of one Ms Ng Shin Ein.

Ms Ng, an investment professional, was also Singapore's non-resident ambassador to Hungary.

She was previously an independent director of Sabana Reit, but resigned late last year.

Multiple copies of the letters written by Tay were sent anonymously to companies and organisations which Ms Ng was associated or had dealings with, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), StarHub and the Securities Investors Association (Singapore).

The letters alleged that Ms Ng was incompetent, and had secured her position on the board of several organisations only because of her familial ties. The names of her family members were included in these letters, causing her distress.

In the letters, Tay also said Ms Ng was unscrupulous in her dealings.

Ms Ng, who was alerted to the letters by her work partners, filed a police report on Sept 20 last year.

When questioned by the police, Tay initially denied writing them.

But he later admitted to doing so after the police seized the letters and found his fingerprints on them.

Yesterday, Tay admitted to sending out the letters as he was angry over the proposed merger of ESR-Reit and Sabana Reit, and felt the merger would bring down Sabana Reit's value. He told the court he has since referred the case of his business dispute to MAS and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

District Judge Eddy Tham said Tay's actions were clearly calculated to cause the maximum damage to Ms Ng. Tay could have been fined up to $5,000 for each count of harassment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2021, with the headline 'Sabana Reit co-founder fined $8k for harassment'. Subscribe