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Corrupt former PCS staff sentenced to 90 weeks’ jail, $1.13 million penalty

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Low Chin Yuen, a former employee at Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) was sentenced to a 90 week jail term and ordered to pay a penalty of SG$1.13 million for corruption.

The 52 year old marketing and sales executive pleaded guilty last month to 40 of 122 charges of accepting cash bribes of about US$800,000 (SG$1.1 million) from VLK Traders directors between 2003 and 2014, The Straits Times reported. The bribes were paid to Low as rewards to advance the business interests of VLK with PCS.

About the case

In 2003, VLK , a chemical transportation services provider, secured a petrol chemical shipping contract awarded by PCS to ship toluene and xylene overseas.

“Deputy public prosecutor Jasmin Kaur said Low had invited VLK to submit a quote as part of his duties, which included evaluating the quotations received and recommending vendors to his management,” The Straits Times wrote.

VKL, which Low had recommended, had the lowest quote among its competitors and was eventually awarded the contract and every subsequent contract.

However, Low was paid US$500 or US$1,000 by VLK on a few occasions shortly before the first contract was awarded.

After clinching the contract, VLK began making monthly payments ranging from US$1,293 to US$14,125 to Low, The Straits Times reported.

Low had accepted bribes that totalled US$797,415, between 2003 and 2014, when his offences came to light.

The sentence

Low’s lawyer Suresh Damodara said in mitigation that his client, who is now unemployed, had always been a “spectacular performer” at PCS.

“He never compromised PCS’ interests in any way whatsoever throughout his 21-year career with PCS,” Damodara added.

He said Low knew that it was wrong for him to accept money from VLK, but has never asked the company for any money or reward, or dictated to VLK the amount to be paid.

However, district judge Ong Chin Rhu said the facts of the case clearly called for a custodial sentence to be imposed. She disagreed with counsel that the custodial threshold had not been breached.

As a result, Low was sentenced to a 90 week jail term and ordered to pay a penalty of SG$1.13 million for corruption. Unable to pay the penalty, Low will serve another 10 months behind bars.

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