Man worked with SIA employee to get bribe of over $207k from renovation firm manager
A freelance interior designer worked with an assistant manager of properties (development) at Singapore Airlines (SIA) to obtain a bribe of more than $207,000 from a manager of a renovation firm.
The prosecution said on Monday that Rex Zhang Jiahao, 38, and Lionel Low Jun Jie, 36, who is no longer working for SIA, committed the offence after they met each other through reservist duties.
The pair received the monies from Joseph Ang Kok Leng, 52, who was then with LIN ID group, on six occasions from June to October 2019, added Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren.
Zhang pleaded guilty on Monday to a graft charge while the cases involving Ang and Low are pending.
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 in 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 DPP 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 prosecutor 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.
The prosecutor told the court: “While Rex knew that his and Lionel’s asking for commission from Joseph in order to help Joseph secure the classroom project and furniture contract was wrong, he did it because he needed money for renovations of his new house and his wedding.
“Rex spent the gratification he received on his wedding and holiday expenses, his wife’s maternity bills, and his general living expenses.”
Court documents did not disclose how the offence came to light but the three Singaporean men were hauled to court in 2022.
Zhang is expected to be sentenced in September.