Grab driver who was director of 46 companies fined $28,000 for failing to supervise them, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Grab driver who was director of 46 companies fined $28,000 for failing to supervise them

A Grab driver who became a nominee director of 46 companies was fined $28,000 after he failed to exercise any supervision over the affairs of these firms.

Leonard Koh Meng Huat, 46, who received more than $57,000 for being a director of the firms, pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Companies Act on Dec 8.

His crimes came to light when a police report was made in February 2022 that manufacturing and engineering firm Meiden Singapore had lost over $171,000 in a business e-mail compromise scam.

Deputy public prosecutors Delicia Tan and Ronnie Ang said investigations revealed that in June 2021, Meiden had transferred the money to a bank account belonging to AAH & Partner, a company in which Koh was a director.

This payment was for engineering and maintenance services that Meiden had engaged another firm, Eastern Green Power, to provide.

Meiden had engaged Eastern for such services since 2015 and would generally liaise with an Eastern employee via an e-mail account.

However, when the deputy general manager of Meiden received an e-mail from a similar e-mail address requesting payment, he did not realise it was a spoof e-mail account and transferred the money to a bank account belonging to AAH & Partner.

The DPPs said further investigations revealed that the money was subsequently transferred from the bank account belonging to AAH & Partner to various bank accounts overseas and was not recovered.

Koh became a director of AAH & Partner when he joined the panel of nominee directors at Osome, a firm that provides corporate services, in 2019.

The DPPs said he joined the panel as he wanted to earn more money.

From 2019, Koh received payment of $100 per month for each company that he was a nominee director of, until July 2020, when the fee for each company was reduced from $100 a month to $1 a day.

Even though Koh was told to conduct his due diligence checks on the companies, he did not do so before agreeing to become their director as he assumed that Osome’s checks on the companies would suffice.

Between 2019 and March 2022, Koh logged into the Osome application four times in total to browse through some bank statements of the companies in which he was a director.

“He had chosen the bank statements to browse through at random but was unable to tell if there were any irregularities. He took no further steps to ascertain if there were in fact irregularities,” said the prosecution.

“The accused left the companies’ affairs entirely to the foreign directors even though he did not know them personally nor had he met them before.”

Those who fail to use reasonable diligence in their discharge of duties as director can be jailed for up to 12 months or fined up to $5,000.