Three people fined over bribes given to then SBS Transit senior engineers

(From left) Lim Tong Keong, Poh Beng Chye and Wang Hairu. ST PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Three people from different companies were fined on Tuesday in graft cases linked to at least one of two then senior engineers of SBS Transit (SBST).

Poh Beng Chye, 59, was fined $15,800 over bribes given to the two engineers, Tan Hoon Gee, 46, and Lau Yuen Fai, 60.

The sole proprietor of machinery spare parts supplier Clear Cut Engineering (CCE) at the time of the offences had pleaded guilty to three graft charges.

Meanwhile, Lim Tong Keong, 58, who was then the owner of consultancy firm LTK Engineering Services, was fined $13,800 on Tuesday over two graft charges linked to Tan.

A third offender, Wang Hairu, 51, was fined $14,200 after she pleaded guilty to two counts of corruption, also involving Tan.

At the time of the offences, she was a director at electronic component supplier VT Global Marine Engineering.

The cases involving Tan and Lau are pending.

In an earlier statement, SBST‘s vice-president (special grade) of customer experience and communications, Ms Grace Wu, said that the pair are no longer working for the company.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng told the court on Tuesday that Poh and Lau were friends.

On Lau’s recommendation, CCE was appointed as an approved SBST vendor some time in 2007 or 2008.

The DPP said that on May 12, 2021, Lau approached Poh for a $1,000 loan.

The prosecutor added: “(Poh) knew that Lau would have difficulty repaying the loan of $1,000 to him... (Poh) also knew that it was ‘wrong’ for him to be extending a loan to Lau as CCE was a vendor of SBST.

“Nonetheless, (Poh) agreed to extend the loan of $1,000 to Lau as he knew that by virtue of Lau’s position as a senior engineer in SBST, Lau would be in a position to continue to engage and refer jobs to CCE.”

The prosecutor said that further investigations revealed that between May 13, 2019, and May 12, 2021, Poh had extended loans totalling $2,050 to Lau.

DPP Ng told the court that in exchange for the loans, Lau had engaged CCE to carry out jobs for SBST on at least 28 occasions between May 27, 2019, and May 17, 2021.

“Save for a partial payment of an unspecified amount in 2019, Lau did not make any further repayment of the loans,” said the prosecutor.

Separately, the DPP said that Poh and LTK Engineering’s Lim were friends.

In 2019, their firms entered into a business agreement where LTK Engineering would oversee the designing of machinery parts and sourcing clients for CCE.

CCE carried out the jobs sourced by LTK Engineering and the profits from the jobs were split equally between the two firms.

DPP Ng said: “Some time in 2019, Tan told (Poh) that he needed financial assistance and asked him if he could help... (Poh) understood that Tan wanted money in exchange for engaging CCE to carry out the jobs for SBST.”

In 2020, Poh told Lim that Tan wanted money in exchange for engaging and referring jobs to CCE.

Lim agreed to the plan, and the prosecutor said that in 2020, Poh gave at least $4,800 to Tan, who then engaged CCE to carry out jobs for SBST on 39 occasions between February and December 2020.

DPP Ng also said that in 2021, Poh gave Tan at least $2,100. According to court documents, Tan then engaged CCE to carry out jobs for SBST on multiple occasions between January and July 2021.

Separately, Tan contacted VT Global’s Wang in late 2019, stating that he was facing financial difficulties.

The prosecutor told the court: “Tan told (Wang) that he could help VT Global to get more business by recommending SBST to engage VT Global to supply electrical components to SBST.

“However, (Wang) had to pay Tan a 5 per cent commission of the sale price if he managed to broker the purchase of electronic components by SBST.”

Wang agreed to the plan and on Tan’s recommendation, SBST engaged VT Global to supply electronic components to it on several occasions in 2020.

Wang then corruptly handed Tan more than $7,000 in total as reward, said the prosecutor.

Court documents did not state how the offences came to light, but Tan, Lau and the three offenders who were fined on Tuesday were later charged with graft-related offences in October 2022.

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