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Ex-PUB staff cheated Govt water agency into awarding 718 contracts worth nearly $2 million to his wife’s companies over 7 years

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A former Public Utilities Board (PUB) Technical Officer was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months jail yesterday after he was convicted for abusing his position within the Government’s water agency and cheated the board into awarding a hefty 718 contracts worth $1.9 million to companies registered under his wife’s name over a period of seven years.

The ex-staff, Mohamed Sa’ad Mohamed Ali, had been in charge of troubleshooting and maintaining equipment at Choa Chu Kang waterworks. Part of his job scope included procuring items such as spare parts for the maintenance work.

In order to procure these items, the 43-year-old worker was required to obtain quotations from three suppliers for the parts and submit his recommendations to PUB via a quotation form. An approving officer at PUB would then choose which supplier to award the contract to.

Between 2005 to 2012, Sa’ad only provided three quotations from the three sole proprietorships under his wife’s name – Hy-Tech Project Services, Hydro Mech Enterprise and Dynatic Technix Project – in order to ensure that the contract would be awarded to one of the three companies.

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This went on over the course of about seven years, until a PUB internal audit noticed anomalies in the small value purchase (SVP) procurement process at Choa Chu Kang waterworks that Sa’ad had been abusing.

Sa’ad was subsequently arrested by anti-graft officers on 23 Aug 2012 and charged for cheating the statutory board under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

It soon came to light that the father of five had used the money that he had cheated the PUB of to make two lump sum payments of $74,870 and $40,000 to buy a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo in 2009 and that he bought a $25,000 insurance policy and repaid his $163,000 HDB mortgage through the criminal proceeds, among other things.

Sa’ad sold the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and surrendered the $92,000 sale proceeds as restitution to the authorities. The authorities also froze the bank accounts of the three companies under his wife’s name that held a total of $290,000.

Sa’ad pleaded guilty to 113 cheating charges and 2 counts of dealing with the benefits of his criminal behaviour. Over 600 other charges for similar offences were considered during sentencing.

The former PUB staff could have been jailed for a maximum of ten years and fined for each cheating charge and could have been jailed for a maximum of seven years and fined up to $500,000 for each charge for using the criminal proceeds.

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