WRS director bribed with cash, luxury handbags

A business handing over an envelope. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — For five years, contractors providing services to Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) who bribed a senior director at Singapore Zoo also bribed a director in order to buy his silence.

In total, Chin Fong Yi, head of facilities management at WRS, received around $51,750 in gratuities and later received bribes in the form of luxury items, such as handbags from Chanel. and Louis Vuitton, from contractor Shin Yong Construction (SYC).

Chin, 44, pleaded guilty to nine counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and three counts under the Corruption, Drug and Trafficking Act. other serious crimes (confiscation of benefits). Another 67 charges will be considered for his sentencing, which has been adjourned to February 16.

Chin was employed by WRS from May 2, 2008 to February 20, 2017. Her tenure included project coordination and upgrade work, writing job specifications and seeking quotes from contractors.

The director of WRS Singapore Zoological Gardens was Barry Chong Peng Wee, who oversaw facility management and supply requests to rectify the zoo’s flaws.

As of 2005, Chong was in a corrupt deal with key SYC personnel, including a foreman, Too Say Kiong. SYC and contractors who colluded with SYC bid for WRS projects, paying “rewards” to Chong when they received the projects.

Chong would send the work specifications for a project to Too and ask him to get his group of contractors to submit quotes for the project. Quotes received would be collated and presented to Chong and his managers. The project would generally be awarded to the lowest quote received.

In 2010 or 2011, Chin noticed that the quote prices submitted by SYC and its group of contractors were very close to each other. She suspected that contractors might “fix prices” with Chong.

She asked Too if there was such an arrangement and Too asked her to “keep quiet and close one eye”, offering her a stack of $50 in exchange for her silence. Chin rejected the money.

Some time later, however, Too offered her another stack of $50 bills.

“The defendant asked (Too) what the money was for and he told her that her boss, (Chong), was taking money and asked her why she didn’t want to take money as well,” said the prosecution.

Too confirmed that the contractors had set the quote prices between themselves.

After learning that Chong had accepted some money, Chin decided to accept the stack of bills. From there, Chin received a monthly “reward” in exchange for keeping quiet about the corrupt arrangement.

Sometime in August 2014, Chin met Toh Yong Soon, a project manager at SYC who was also involved in the corrupt arrangement, in Ngee Ann City for lunch.

Chin came across a Chanel wallet that cost $1,250 and told Toh that she really liked the wallet.

“(Toh) understood that the defendant wanted him to buy said wallet from him, and he did so. The defendant bribedly received said wallet as a reward for an act in connection with her principal’s business…by showing leniency in supervising work performed by SYC at WRS, for which the defendant was supervising,” the prosecution said.

Chin also used other bribes she received to buy more luxury handbags, including a Louis Vuitton backpack and more Chanel bags.

She was arrested on February 22, 2017.

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