A Malaysian engineer was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment here on Tuesday, after he was found guilty of stealing expensive equipment from Government statutory board, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Interestingly, the engineer, 23-year-old Soh Jun Cheng who holds Singapore permanent residency – was a burglary suspect in a separate case when he was employed by a Government-linked firm to provide IT support for the IMDA.
On 16 Nov 2017, Soh reportedly broke into a house at Chiselhurst Grove and stole $4,650 worth of electronic items. He was caught and granted court bail thereafter.
In March 2018, four months after the Chiselhurst Grove burglary, NCS Pte Ltd hired Soh.
NCS, formerly known as National Computer Systems, was founded by the Singapore Government founded NCS in 1981. The organisation was restructured as a commercial entity in 1996 and became a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel Group in 1997.
NCS is the same organisation that was involved in the latest IT fiasco at the Ministry of Health, in which the wrong Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies were distributed to 7,700 patients.
1,300 patients received a total $400,000 less subsidies than what they were eligible for while 6,400 patients received about $2 million total more subsidies than what they qualify for. MOH has said that it will “recover from NCS the costs and expenses incurred as a result of this incident”.
NCS employed Soh while he was out on court bail over the Chiselhurst Grove case. Soh was directed by NCS’ service desk to provide IT support to the IMDA and was tasked to issue and change laptops for IMDA staff.
As part of his work with the IMDA, Soh was given access to secure rooms in the IMDA office where IT equipment was kept. Saddled with gambling debt, Soh reportedly decided to steal equipment from the secure rooms at IMDA to pay off his debt.
Within weeks of being directed to provide IT support for IMDA, Soh stole $62,000 worth of computer equipment.
Soh earned about $28,000 by selling these stolen items on Carousell under the username, “1sell2buy”. He was finally caught when the theft at IMDA was discovered, leading to his arrest in June last year.
Soh’s defence lawyer argued in court that his client has a gambling disorder. The court heard that most of the $28,000 Soh had earned from the sale of the stolen equipment was spent in casinos, on debts or daily expenses.
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