SINGAPORE: A Grab car driver who pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Companies Act on Dec 8 (Friday) was given a fine of $28,000, with 39 other charges considered in his sentencing.
Forty-six-year-old Leonard Koh Meng Huat had received tens of thousands of dollars as a director of dozens of companies. Koh, who became a nominee director of 60 companies, had been told to keep a close eye on the firms’ dealings but neglected to do so.
The Grab driver joined other nominee directors at a firm called Osome, which provides corporate services such as supplying Singaporean directors for local companies since this is a legal requirement.
In exchange, Koh would receive S$100 monthly from every company for which he was listed as a director. However, he was informed that he needed to conduct diligence checks in the companies where he was a nominee director.
Assuming that Osome would keep an eye out for the companies, Koh did hardly anything to ensure they followed Singapore law.
From April 2019 to March 2022, Koh was listed as a director of a company called AAH & Partner. Manufacturing and engineering firm Meiden Singapore transferred a significant amount of money to an account belonging to AAH & Partner in June 2021.
The money, amounting to S$171,200, was to have been a payment for engineering and maintenance services that another company, Eastern Green Power, had provided to Meiden Singapore.
The deputy general manager of Meiden Singapore, Mr Tan Kwee Sang, received an email from an address similar to the one used by Eastern Green Power. The fake email asked for the money to be transferred to a UOB account belonging to AAH & Partner.
When Mr Tan realised Meiden Singapore had been scammed, he filed a police report. However, the funds were transferred from the AAH & Partner account to several accounts overseas. It has not been recovered.
The prosecution sought a fine between S$29,000 and S$30,000, saying that Koh, who had earned over S$57,000 from his position as director, had been negligent.
“The accused left the companies’ affairs entirely to the foreign directors even though he did not know them personally nor had he met them before,” the prosecution said.
“The public must be protected from persons who flagrantly disregard the totality of their duties to manage and supervise their company, as well as to deter others who accept appointment as directors from such behaviour,” it added.
Koh’s lawyer had asked for a S$15,000 fine, saying it was Koh’s first time to be a nominee director and adding that since he was a private hire driver for Grab, he had no related skills for the position.
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