SINGAPORE: A former deputy director for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) was given a 55-week jail sentence on Tuesday (Jan 16) after he had pleaded guilty to 15 cheating charges earlier this month.

Rikram Jit Singh, 43, had taken advantage of his role at FAS to secure supply contracts to companies connected to him and his wife, Asya Kirin Kames. When FAS disbursed S$609,380 due to the contracts, Singh and Asya dishonestly gained S$127,896.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has taken back the illegal amount possessed by the couple, and the money has now been returned to FAS.

An additional 30 charges were taken into consideration for Singh’s sentencing. However, the cheating charges against Asya were withdrawn after the prosecution made an application.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers told CNA that it “considered all the facts and circumstances of the case,” including Singh and Asyas’ full cooperation with investigations, Singh’s guilty plea to the cheating charges, and the turnover of the profits the couple illegally gained back to FAS.

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Asya cannot be prosecuted on the charges again since she has received a discharge amounting to an acquittal.

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The prosecution had asked for a 24 to 30-month jail sentence for Singh, given that he had committed a grave abuse of authority and engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to cheat FAS, as well as misused public funds.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said, “Football is largely regarded as the national sport in Singapore. The commission of fraud at the FAS, the association that governed the sport in Singapore, would trigger public disquiet.”

However, the district judge on the case, Justice Jasvender Kaur, disagreed that Singh had misused public funds, pointing out that FAS did not complain over the jobs completed through the contracts in question and that the association had not paid above the market rate.

She did note, however, that the offences committed by Singh undermined the integrity of FAS’ financial governance protocol and that the former deputy director abused his position of trust.

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Singh could have received a jail sentence of as long as ten years for the crimes he committed and been made to pay a fine.

Two other individuals were involved in Rikram and Asya’s scheme: Shankar Suppiah and Pallaniappan Ravindran. While Shankar received a four-month jail sentence in November 2022 after being convicted of five counts of cheating, Pallaniappan is still awaiting their day in court. /TISG