Jail for cop who forged 40 documents, including those linked to fatal accidents
For his own convenience, an experienced policeman committed forgery in 15 investigation papers for traffic accidents, 14 of which involved fatalities.
If not for a typographical error by Kenny Cheong Chyuan Lih which was spotted by an alert prosecutor, his offences, committed between 2014 and 2018, might not have come to light at all.
On Thursday, Cheong, 39, was sentenced to four years and two months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to 12 forgery charges. Another 28 charges were considered during sentencing.
The station inspector, who has been suspended since Dec 27, 2018, committed the offences during his stint as an investigation officer in the Fatal Accident Investigation Team of the Traffic Police.
In all, Cheong, who had 14 years of experience, forged 40 documents. Because of his actions, 2,501 investigation papers had to be reviewed.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said that the forgeries had caused no wrongful convictions.
However, eight coroner’s inquiries had to be reopened. Former State Coroner Marvin Bay, who handled the original inquiries, has since completed rehearing all eight, the court was told.
The DPP said: “The... coroner found that there was no miscarriage of justice caused by the forgeries.”
One of the cases involved a fatal hit-and-run accident along Martin Road near River Valley Close in April 2016.
Kasmani Ahmat was driving a lorry that fatally struck a man, referred to in court documents as V1.
Following investigations, Cheong recommended that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) charge Kasmani with offences under the Penal Code and the Road Traffic Act.
The investigation paper was assessed by then Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Lim Yu Hui, who felt that additional investigations were needed.
In August 2016, she issued directions for further investigations into the accident.
On Thursday, DPP Thiagesh said: “Instead of complying with APP Lim’s directions... the accused created a charging minute under APP Lim’s name.
“The contents of the minute falsely stated that APP Lim had concluded that it was Kasmani’s lorry that had run over V1 and that she was thus directing that Kasmani be charged (with the) offences.”
Charging minutes are official correspondence in which the AGC directs the police to charge an accused person in court, having assessed there is sufficient evidence against him or her.
Kasmani was charged in court in September 2017. The matter was assigned to then APP Andrew Low, who discovered the forgery and reported it to the AGC’s management.
Details about the error made by Cheong were not disclosed.
The Internal Affairs Office (IAO) of the Singapore Police Force started investigations into Cheong’s offences in March 2018 which eventually revealed that he had forged multiple documents.
Meanwhile, Kasmani admitted to his offences and was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail in 2018.
DPP Thiagesh said: “It is fortuitous that following a review, the AGC had found that there was sufficient evidence to support Kasmani’s conviction, alleviating any concern that Kasmani had been wrongfully charged and incarcerated.”
Cheong’s bail was set at $15,000 on Thursday and he is expected to surrender himself at the State Courts on April 6 to begin serving his sentence.
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