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Jail for former SIA staff who conspired with friend to obtain bribes, used money for rent and buying Microsoft shares

Jail for former SIA staff who conspired with friend to obtain bribes, used money for rent and buying Microsoft shares
Lionel Low Jun Jie had given Lin ID Group confidential information to help it bid for tenders called by the national carrier.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

SINGAPORE —?A former Singapore Airlines (SIA) employee was sentenced to 10 months' jail for conspiring with his friend from reservist to obtain bribes from an interior design firm.

Lionel Low Jun Jie, 36, who was then the assistant manager of properties (development) at SIA, had given Lin ID Group confidential information to help it bid for tenders called by the national carrier.

In return, he and his friend received around $474,500 between June and December 2019 from the firm's manager, Joseph Ang, 52.

Low pleaded guilty on Nov 28 to one charge of corruptly obtaining gratification, and another charge of converting his benefits from criminal conduct. Four other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Court documents said that at the time of the offence, Low had worked at SIA for six to seven years. He managed ad-hoc renovation projects for SIA, and his duties included conducting quotation or tender exercises. He would also shortlist contractors for interviews and recommend which contractor should be awarded a project.

Low had known one Rex Zhang, 38, through their reservist duties. Zhang was working as a freelance interior designer at the time.

Some time between late 2018 and early 2019, SIA conducted a tender for the construction of a two-storey pre-fabricated building consisting of 24 classrooms at its training centre in Upper Changi.

Low asked Zhang to recommend contractors for the project, and suggested to Zhang to tell the contractors that he had a contact in SIA —?himself.

Low said Zhang could tell the contractors the contact could help them get the tender in exchange for a commission.

Zhang agreed to the plan, with the two men splitting the commission equally between them.

In late 2018, Zhang contacted Ang, who expressed his interest in the project and proceeded to prepare the necessary documents to make a bid for it.

To help Ang's preparation, Zhang passed him confidential information from Low. This included SIA's $2.5 million budget for the project, so that Zhang could advise Ang to quote a lower amount.

The project was later awarded to Lin ID Group for around $2.17 million. The company was also awarded a contract to supply furniture linked to it.

The classroom project — including the furniture contract — was the largest project that Lin ID Group had obtained and completed as at April 2021.

The commission from Ang to Low and Zhang totalled more than $207,500, which was paid out in 2019 through six cheques.

That year, Low and Zhang also received other sums of more than $33,000 and $233,000 from Ang, in exchange for favouring Lin ID Group in other tenders, according to charge sheets.

Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren said Low used the money to pay off rent and wedding expenses, and also transferred some of it to a trading account.

[[nid:640728]]

Low was investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and released on bail on April 7, 2021.

On the same day, he used some of the ill-gotten gains in his trading account to buy 460 Microsoft shares for more than US$111,000 (S$148,000).

He also transferred shares to his wife as he wanted to ensure she had some money if he was convicted, said DPP Arvindren.

For making these purchases and transfers, Low was handed additional charges of converting his benefits from criminal conduct.

The shares were seized by CPIB. They have since been liquidated and a sum of more than $103,700 has been retained by the bureau.

In mitigation, Low's lawyer, Mr Johannes Hadi, said his client was deeply remorseful and agreed for the seized money to be forfeited to the state.

Court documents did not disclose how the offences came to light, but the three Singaporean men were hauled to court in 2022.

Zhang was sentenced to eight months' jail in September 2023. He was also ordered to pay a penalty of more than $103,700.

Ang's case is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in December.

ALSO READ:?Singaporean ex-pro basketballer guilty of fixing matches in Thailand

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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