Employee who took bribes gets jail, penalty of $1,500

A former purchaser for a construction company, who took bribes for not telling his management that the weight of scrap metal they were selling to a businessman was under-stated, was sentenced to six weeks' jail yesterday .

Mathew Koottappillil Mathew, 48, who is appealing, was ordered to pay a penalty of $1,500.

He admitted to one count of corruptly receiving $500 from Hong Meng Choon, a director of Fong Sin Metal Recycle, in exchange for not telling Shimizu Corporation, Mathew's employer, the true figure. Three other similar charges were considered during his sentencing.

Hong, 47, who faced multiple counts of of giving bribes, has been dealt with.

Mathew was also fined $4,000 for pocketing $2,147 from the cash paid to Shimizu on Sept 28, 2012.

Investigation showed that Fong Sin would place scrap metal bins at worksites for the disposal of scrap metal. Once filled, an employee from the client company would contact the recycling company, which would collect the scrap.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu said Mathew came to know Hong in mid-2012 and the two would frequent the casino at Marina Bay Sands.

At one of these sessions, Mathew shared his financial troubles with Hong, who agreed to help him if Mathew did him some "favours''.

Soon after, Mathew found discrepancies in several transactions between the amount of metal sold by Shimizu to Fong Sin, and what Hong was paying for it. He kept quiet even though he knew that Hong was under-paying for the scrap.

Mathew obtained $500 from Hong as a reward one day between June and July 2012.

DPP Naidu said one of the company's foreign workers later highlighted the discrepancies, but Mathew told the man his job was only to collect the money.

Mathew has since paid $1,500 to Shimizu. The maximum punishment for corruption is a $100,000 fine and five years' jail; and for criminal breach of trust, seven years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Employee who took bribes gets jail, penalty of $1,500'. Subscribe