27 months’ jail for AMKTC ex-GM
He received $50,000 in bribes including loans for his mistress
A former general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) was yesterday sentenced to 27 months' jail for allowing himself to be cultivated by the boss of two construction firms despite knowing it was wrong.
Wong Chee Meng, 59, also known as Victor Wong, received some $50,000 in bribes from Chia Sin Lan, 64, a director and shareholder of 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise.
Chia, who was sentenced to 21 months in jail, had given Wong a discount on a car purchase, loaned him money to help his mistress, and also paid for visits to KTV lounges, restaurants, massage spas and a hotel in hopes of advancing the interests of his companies.
The two firms were each fined $75,000.
Wong was also asked to pay a penalty of $23,398.09, as repayment of his ill-gotten gains.
District Judge John Ng said: "Such a sentence is severe enough... to remind us... that 'absolute probity is demanded of all officers and employees of town councils'.
"The sentence also signals clearly our zero tolerance for corruption in general and corruption that undermines public administration in particular."
Wong was AMKTC's general manager from 2013 to 2016. He was employed by CPG Facilities Management, which was AMKTC's managing agent.
In September 2016, AMKTC received a complaint about the way he handled contracts. He was removed from duty a month later and was investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
Wong, in December 2014, first asked for a discount on a Toyota Corolla Altis that 19-ANC was looking to sell.
As the two men got closer, Wong asked Chia for loans - once in June 2015 to pay for renovations to the house of his mistress in China, and again in November that year to help her after she fell prey to an investment scam.
Between May 2015 and July 2016, Chia also entertained Wong on 29 occasions, spending about $7,000.
The most serious aspect of what Wong did was in receiving the benefits from Chia knowing full well they were "laced with a corrupt intent", said the judge.
He had allowed himself to become beholden to Chia.
Judge Ng said that while Wong was an employee of a private company, his role required that he exercise some of the powers of the town council, which is a statutory body.
Thus the public interest in preventing a loss of confidence in Singapore's public administration was a factor in sentencing.
But while the two men were guilty of corruption, their actions had not compromised several contracts worth $9,874,650 awarded to 19-ANC and 19-NS2 between 2014 and 2016, said the judge.
Wong and Chia, who had been chatting outside the court earlier, did not talk to each other after the sentencing.
They shared a few minutes with family members before being led away to the sound of sobbing and someone crying out "take care".
Wong was in tears as Chia looked stonily ahead.