NLB deputy director charged under OSA with leaking details of phase 2 reopening

Chua Wee Lin faces one charge of communicating information to people whom he was not authorised to share it with.
Chua Wee Lin faces one charge of communicating information to people whom he was not authorised to share it with.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A National Library Board deputy director was charged on Wednesday (May 19) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) with leaking information on the resumption of activities in phase two of Singapore's reopening last June.

Chua Wee Lin, 51, faces one charge of communicating information to people whom he was not authorised to share it with.

As the deputy director of the property and facilities management department of the National Library Board (NLB), Chua had access to the information.

He had allegedly leaked it to a WhatsApp group with 18 other members on June 11 last year before the Government released the information to the public.

The police said in a statement on Tuesday that the classified information was then disseminated by members of the WhatsApp group, resulting in the details being widely circulated before they were meant to be released.

Six others who wrongfully received and communicated the information will be issued stern warnings, the police added.

Under the OSA, it is an offence for a person to use his position in government to communicate privileged information to another person. It is also against the law for someone to receive such information.

Chua is out on $5,000 bail and is expected to return to court on June 16.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an NLB spokesman said Chua had been suspended immediately from his duties, following his arrest on June 13 last year.

"As a precautionary measure, we have been regularly highlighting the importance of information security to our staff and to remind them of the code of conduct required," she added.

The latest case comes on the back of two similar OSA cases.

Noorain Jubli, 38, faces two charges of wrongful communication of information.

She was the personal assistant to the director-general of the Singapore Food Agency and allegedly leaked information on school closures during the Covid-19 circuit breaker last year.

Her husband, Khairul Annuar Zakaria, 39, faces one such charge and another of soliciting wrongful communication of information.

The information was allegedly taken from a draft joint media statement by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education.

Noorain allegedly accessed the classified information from the director-general's e-mail inbox and sent it to her husband before it was officially released. He then allegedly sent it to his friends.

Earlier in April, a former deputy lead at the Ministry of Health (MOH) was charged with allegedly leaking Singapore's daily Covid-19 case numbers 22 times last year.

Zhao Zheng, 36, faces 24 charges under the OSA.

She was charged with her friend, Tang Lin, 36, who allegedly asked Zhao to help her check on the status of a coronavirus-positive patient.