Ex-SLA employees sentenced to at least 15 years’ jail

Two ex-employees of Singapore Land Authority (SLA) were sentenced to jail by the High Court on cheating and money laundering charges.

Koh Seah Wee, 41, former SLA deputy director of technology and infrastructure, earlier admitted to 59 charges and was sentenced to 22 years of jail, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Koh's accomplice,38-year-old Christopher Lim Chai Meng, former manager at SLA, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after admitting to 49 charges.

Of the $12.2 million laundered, $7.5 million was recovered from Koh, reported The Straits Times.

Koh and Lim cheated SLA by using false invoices issued by ex-swim coach Ho Yen Teck. Ho, 32, who set up seven sole proprietorships which promised fake IT maintenance services and goods but never delivered. Ho is currently serving a 10-year sentence.

As Lim was the procurement officer responsible for acquiring services and goods required by the technology and infrastructure department, he conspired with Ho to award the contracts to Ho's companies.

As a result, the trio deceived SLA of $12.2 million in 282 contracts to 11 'vendors'. Koh had approved of all payments to the firm during his term as the authority's deputy director.

The same paper also reported that Koh had previously cheated Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and Supreme Court when he was deployed there in late 1990s to 2002.

The court heard that Koh and Lim had divested the cash obtained from laundering to various bank accounts of their relatives and invested in private properties, unit trust, stocks and shares.

They were also known to have indulged in luxury sports cars, watches and designer handbags.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Aedit Abdullah and DPP Jean Chan called for a deterrent sentence in view of the unprecedented scale and magnitude of fraud in this case.

It was pointed out that over a long period, Koh had deceived three different public institutions; the egregious abuse of trust and position by a public servant in the discharge of his official duties; and the difficulty in detection.

The offences had also seriously undermined confidence in the integrity of the country's public procurement processes, he added.