8 months’ jail for man who worked with SIA employee to get bribe of over $207k
A man was sentenced to eight months’ jail on Monday after he worked with a then-Singapore Airlines (SIA) employee to obtain a bribe of over $207,000 from a renovation firm manager.
Freelance interior designer Rex Zhang Jiahao, 38, was also ordered to pay a penalty of more than $103,700.
He will spend an additional 100 days behind bars if he is unable to pay the amount.
In earlier proceedings, the prosecution said that Zhang committed the offence with Lionel Low Jun Jie, 36, who was an assistant manager of properties (development) at SIA at the time.
Low is no longer working for the carrier.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren said that the pair received the monies from Joseph Ang Kok Leng, 52, who was then with renovation firm LIN ID group, on six occasions from June to October 2019.
On Monday, the prosecutor asked District Judge Christopher Goh to sentence Zhang to between nine and 10 months’ jail.
He said that the amount involved was substantial and Zhang was motivated by personal gain.
Defence lawyer Cory Wong from Invictus Law Corporation pleaded for the offender to be given not more than six to seven months’ jail.
Mr Wong said that his client had shown genuine remorse and had acted on information from Low.
Zhang pleaded guilty to a graft charge in August, while the cases involving Ang and Low are pending.
Zhang and Low had known each other through reservist duties.
At the time of the offence, Low managed ad-hoc renovation projects for SIA, and his duties included conducting quotation or tender exercises.
After receiving quotations or tenders from applicants, he would shortlist contractors for interviews and make recommendations for one to be awarded the project in question.
The interviews and decision-making were done by Low and his supervisor.
Some time from late 2018 to early 2019, SIA conducted a tender for the construction of a two-story pre-fabricated building consisting of 24 classrooms at its training centre.
In 2018, Low asked Zhang to recommend building contractors for the project.
The prosecutor said that Low suggested to Zhang to tell the contractor that he had a contact in SIA.
The contact could help the contractor in obtaining the tender in exchange for a commission.
According to court documents, Zhang agreed to the plan and the two men also agreed to split 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.
The DPP said that to help Ang’s preparation, Zhang passed him confidential information from Low, including SIA’s budget for the project as well as the expected timelines and milestones.
Low had also disclosed the budget of $2.5 million for the project, so that Zhang could advise Ang to quote a lower amount, the court heard.
The project was later awarded to LIN ID 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 had obtained and completed as at April 2021.
SIA then made progressive payments to LIN ID.
After that, Ang would instruct LIN ID’s employees to prepare the commission, said DPP Arvindren.
Court documents stated that the commission from Ang to Zhang and Low totalled more than $207,000, which was paid out in 2019 through six cheques.
Court documents did not disclose how the offence came to light, but the three Singaporean men were hauled to court in 2022.
Zhang’s bail was set at $20,000 on Monday, and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 2 to begin serving his sentence.