Singapore — A former deputy group director from the LTA was given a jail sentence on Sept 2 of five and a half years and a penalty of over one million dollars for having received $1.24 million in bribes in a case the judge called “the largest case of public sector corruption to come before the courts in recent times”.
Henry Foo Yung Thye, who worked for the LTA for over two decades, is unable to pay the penalty which totals $1,156,250. He will, instead, be jailed in default for another year.
The former director, whom his lawyer claims have a severe gambling disorder, pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act for “actively and quite persistently” receiving bribes, which was made up of loans from contractors or subcontractors.
Another 29 charges consisting of graft and cheating were taken into consideration in his sentencing.
Deputy Presiding Judge Jennifer Marie told Foo after he was sentenced, “Your counsel had made an impassioned plea on your behalf. You have done well scholastically, and you had actually performed very well in your career. I do hope that on your release you would have put this whole episode behind you and not remain in guilt and shame.”
Mr Lim Ker Sheon, the lawyer who represented Foo pro bono, had asked for 46 months of jail for his client.
He cited Foo’s diagnosis of a pathological gambling disorder and added that his client has cooperated extensively with the authorities and has saved them time and resources, and that he had planned to plead guilty from the beginning.
The prosecution had asked for 75 months’ jail for the former LTA director.
Foo admitted in court that he received $1.2 million in bribes from 2016 to 2018 in loans from contractors and subcontractors.
His lawyer said in mitigation that his client was diagnosed with gambling disorder, later found to be causally linked to his offences by a private psychiatrist.
As part of his work for the LTA, he oversaw the construction of MRT stations and tunnels and assessed personnel for LTA’s contracts and subcontracts under the TEL and Cross Island Lines.
Additionally, he chaired the tender evaluation committee, and it was in this position that he solicited fees from a number of people from 2014 until 2019 in exchange for supporting certain firms and providing privileged information about the LTA.
However, by Oct 2018, a complaint had been filed anonymously at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) alleging that Foo had solicited loans from subcontractors that had LTA projects. Moreover, Foo had asked the director of China Railway Tunnel Group for financial help to pay his own debts.
The former director resigned the following Sept.
From the $1.2 million he collected in bribes, he has paid back $83,750.
The total amount of contracts involved in his bribery cases amounts to $815 million. /TISG
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