Former fish wholesaler jailed for bribing FairPrice staff, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Former fish wholesaler jailed for bribing FairPrice staff

The former owner of a fish wholesale firm, who gave nearly $87,000 in bribes to FairPrice employees, was sentenced to eight months’ jail and a fine of $2,000 on Feb 26.

Lim Poh Heng, 71, who used to own Kiang Huat Sea Products Co (1998), gave the bribes from 2010 to 2020 to advance his firm’s business interests with the supermarket chain.

In January, he pleaded guilty to three graft charges involving $48,600. Six other similar charges relating to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

Three men linked to the case, who were working for the supermarket chain at the time of the offences, were dealt with in court earlier.

In March 2023, Lim Kian Kok, then 48, was sentenced to four years and five months’ jail and ordered to pay a penalty of nearly $290,000.

The following month, See Hock Lam, then 70, was sentenced to three years and two months’ jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $261,500.

The third man, Chua Teow Hym, who was 61 at the time, was sentenced to five weeks’ jail and a fine of $2,000 in May 2023. He was also ordered to pay a penalty of $3,820.

The trio are not longer working for the supermarket chain.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said that Lim Poh Heng had corruptly handed Lim Kian Kok at least $86,000 in cash.

Lim Kian Kok, also known as Andrew, joined FairPrice in 2007 and oversaw its buying operations at Jurong Fishery Port when he became a senior team leader in 2013.

He had the discretion to determine which suppliers to buy fish and seafood from, and how much to buy from them.

Shortly after he became a senior team leader, he approached See, who was then a team leader, and asked the older man if he “wanted to make money”.

In earlier proceedings, DPP Tan said: “Andrew told See that he intended to ask some of the suppliers at Jurong Fishery Port for money in return for purchasing more fish from them.

“He asked See to join him so See would support him in obtaining payments from suppliers... and would not complain to FairPrice about this arrangement.”

See agreed to the plan as he had a gambling habit and wanted to earn some cash. The two men then agreed to split the money equally between them. Four suppliers were later approached for the bribes.

In 2014, Lim Kian Kok asked Lim Poh Heng for money in exchange for him buying more fish from Kiang Huat. The older man obliged and gave him $500.

After Lim Poh Heng realised that Lim Kian Kok bought more fish from Kiang Huat, “(he) then began giving $500 to Andrew monthly to induce him to buy more fish from Kiang Huat”, the DPP told the court.

“The sum increased from $500 to $2,000 in 2018,” DPP Tan added. “The accused would place the cash in an envelope and give it to Andrew in person at Jurong Fishery Port.”

On multiple occasions, See would also remind him to make payments to Lim Kian Kok. These payments continued until October 2020.

Meanwhile, Chua, who is also known as Jimmy, worked as a storekeeper from 2009 to around November 2021.

While he was working for FairPrice, his tasks included receiving stocks from suppliers and weighing them to ensure they matched the quantity ordered. He also had the discretion to reject stocks if they were not fresh.

Chua was working at Jurong Fishery Port when he met Lim Poh Heng, who also gave bribes to him.

On at least three occasions from 2010 to 2015, Lim Poh Heng handed him a red packet containing at least $200 during Chinese New Year.

Lim Poh Heng did so because he wanted to have a good working relationship with Chua given the latter’s discretion to buy and accept surplus stock from Kiang Huat.

Lim Poh Heng’s bail was set at $50,000 on Feb 26 and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on March 11 to begin serving his sentence.

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