UPDATE: Statement from Shell on the case released on Tuesday
Eleven men were charged in court on Tuesday (9 January) for misappropriating fuel from Shell’s Pulau Bukom manufacturing site.
The accused are Dang Van Hanh, 37, Nguyen Duc Quang, 46, Richard Goh Chee Keong, 48, Abdul Latif Ibrahim, 59, Mohd Ibrahim Abdul Majid, 52, Muhammad Ali Muhammad Nor, 51, Koh Choon Wei, 35, Tiah Kok Hwee, 41, Cai Zhi Zhong, 34, Juandi Pungot 41, and Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 36.
A total of 17 men, aged between 30 and 63, were arrested on Sunday in relation to the theft. The remaining six men are still under investigation.
Dang and Nguyen, both Vietnamese, were each charged with one count of dishonestly receiving stolen property, which carries a maximum jail term of five years and/or a fine.
Both are accused of engaging in a conspiracy to dishonestly receive 1,260 metric tons of gas oil worth $687,960 which was transferred from Pulau Bukom to vessel Prime South at around 7pm on Sunday.
The others, who are Singaporean, each face charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) by a clerk or servant, which carries a maximum of jail term of 15 years and a fine. Juandi, Cai, Koh, Tiah and Muzaffar each face two counts of CBT while the rest face one count of CBT each.
Goh, Abdul Latif, Ibrahim, Koh, Tiah, Cai, Muzaffar and Juandi were employed by Shell Eastern Petroleum at the time of the alleged crime. Shell confirmed in a statement sent out on Tuesday that eight of the 11 men charged in court are either former or current Shell Eastern Petroleum employees.
Muzaffar, Cai, Tiah, Koh and Juandi are said to have engaged in a conspiracy to misappropriate 2,322 metric tonnes of gas oil valued at $1,277,430 belonging to Shell Eastern Petroleum on 21 November around 5.25pm. The same men and Muhammad Ali are also accused of misappropriating 1,260 metric tons of gas oil valued at $687,960 belonging to Shell Eastern Petroleum on Sunday around 7pm.
Goh, Abdul Latif and Ibrahim are also said to have conspired with each other to misappropriate 801.86 metric tons of gas oil worth $437,815.56 belonging to Shell Eastern Petroleum on 5 January between 6.50pm and 8.05pm.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew called for the men to be remanded pending further investigations and possible additional charges. The men will return to court on 15 and 16 January.
Shell Singapore lodged a police report in August 2017 after it discovered the suspected theft from its site on Pulau Bukom, a 243-hectare island located 5.5 km south-west of Singapore.
In a joint operation on Sunday, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Intelligence Department and Police Coast Guard conducted simultaneous raids and arrests on Pulau Bukom.
Some $3.05 million in cash and a 12,000-tonne tanker weighing were seized in the operation. The police also froze the men’s bank accounts to prevent the suspected criminal proceeds from being dissipated.
Shell said in its statement on Monday that the alleged oil theft involved a “limited number” of its employees and that the company anticipates “a short delay in the supply operations at Bukom” but will continue to meet its contractual supply obligations.