Singapore — Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) has filed a question in Parliament connected to the LTA officer who received $1.24 million in bribes in a case the judge called “the largest case of public sector corruption to come before the courts in recent times”.
Mr Henry Foo Yung Thye, who was given a jail sentence on Sept 2 of five and a half years and a penalty of over one million dollars, worked at the Land Transport Authority for over two decades.
The former deputy group director pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act for “actively and quite persistently” receiving bribes, which was made up of loans from contractors or subcontractors.
Foo admitted in court that he received $1.2 million in bribes from 2016 to 2018 in such loans.
On Sunday (Sept 12), Mr Giam wrote that Foo’s case was a “cause for concern because it is unclear if the corrupt contractors continued their work on the two MRT lines and, if so, whether the works done by these companies have been compromised in terms of safety, quality and value for money.”
His first question, which is addressed to the Minister of Finance (Lawrence Wong), revolves around recommendations the Standing Committee on Debarment (SCOD) received from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), and whether any actions have been taken in connection to Foo’s case.
Mr Giam also mentioned the pathological gambling disorder suffered by Mr Foo, which was mentioned by his lawyer in court.
The WP MP therefore further asked, in a question addressed to the Prime Minister, about indebtedness declarations among public servants.
Here are Mr Giam’s questions:
- whether all public servants are required to make annual declarations of non-indebtedness;
- if so, what is the maximum amount of unsecured loans each officer can have vis-a-vis their monthly income;
- whether there is any obligation on the part of officers to report fellow officers whom they know have exceeded this amount; and
- what are the consequences for non-reporting.
Foo’s lawyer, Mr Lim Ker Sheon, said in mitigation that his client had been diagnosed with a gambling disorder, later found to be causally linked to his offences by a private psychiatrist.
As part of his work for the LTA, he oversaw the construction of MRT stations and tunnels and assessed personnel for LTA’s contracts and subcontracts under the TEL and Cross Island Lines.
Additionally, he chaired the tender evaluation committee, and it was in this position that he solicited fees from a number of people from 2014 until 2019 in exchange for supporting certain firms and providing privileged information about the LTA.
However, by Oct 2018, a complaint had been filed anonymously at the CPIB alleging that Foo had solicited loans from subcontractors that had LTA projects. Moreover, Foo had asked the director of China Railway Tunnel Group for financial help to pay his own debts. /TISG
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