2 former senior NParks officers charged with graft

SINGAPORE- Two former senior National Parks Board (NParks) officers appeared in a district court on Tuesday (April 6) and were each charged with receiving a bribe in the form of a hotel stay worth about $260.

One of the men is also accused of receiving bribes in the form of transport services. Court documents do not reveal details about either the hotel or the transport services.

At the time of the alleged offences, one of the two Singaporeans, Teva Raj Palanisamy, now 69, was working as a senior director at NParks’ municipal landscapes division.

He is accused of two counts of corruption.

The other man, Johnny Go Kau Chai, now 51, who was a director at the same division, was handed one graft charge.

The pair have since resigned.

According to court documents, the two men allegedly accepted the hotel stay from one Zulfiqar Abdullah, alias Thomas Tjioe Hock Siew, who at that time was the general manager of landscaping firm Ho Eng Huat Construction.

Go and Teva are accused of committing this offence in Macao sometime in 2018.

The pair are said to have accepted the bribe in exchange for advancing Ho Eng Huat Construction’s business interest with NParks.

Separately, on six incidents between 2018 and last year, Teva allegedly obtained bribes in the form of transport services from one Ong Eng Soon, who was then the director of another landscaping firm – Soon Sin Contracts.

In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said that Teva “allegedly obtained (the) gratification… as an inducement to advance the business interest of a second giver’s company with NParks”.

It added: “Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption, including any corrupt acts committed overseas.”

Teva and Go were each offered bail of $5,000 on Tuesday.

Teva, who was unrepresented, told the court that he intends to plead guilty to his offences and will be back in court on May 21.

Go’s case has been adjourned to May 4.

Responding to queries on its views about this graft case, NParks told The Straits Times: “As the matter is before the courts, it is not appropriate for (us) to comment.”

For each count of corruption, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.

The maximum jail term for each offence of corruption can be increased to seven years if it is in relation to a matter or contract with the Government or a public body.

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