S'porean father and son duo jailed for corruption involving former chief of Malaysian cargo airline

S'porean father and son duo jailed for corruption involving former chief of Malaysian cargo airline

SINGAPORE – A father and son duo who were directors of a freight forwarding company became involved in a corrupt arrangement after the company was unable to fulfil a contract.

IG Aviation Singapore’s contract was with Malaysia-registered cargo airline operator Raya Airways, and the arrangement was made with Mr Lee Shashitheren, who later became its chief executive.

The father, Peter Tan Chin Hock, 65, was sentenced to seven months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to seven corruption charges on Monday.

His son, Kenneth Tan Kwang Leng, 45, was sentenced to two months’ jail, also on Monday, after he pleaded guilty to six similar charges.

The two Singaporeans had conspired with another director at the company – Tan Yong Yeow, also known as Jereemy – and it resulted in at least RM504,698 (S$166,015) given to Mr Shashitheren in bribes.

Thus the company avoided paying at least US$139,037.27 (S$195,983) to Raya Airways.

Singaporean Jereemy Tan, 56, was sentenced to 10 months’ jail for his role in the offence.

Court documents did not say how the scheme was uncovered.

Deputy public prosecutors Grace Lim and Eric Hu said in court documents that Jereemy Tan and Peter Tan incorporated the company on May 4, 2015.

They, along with Kenneth Tan, became directors and Jereemy Tan, who was based in Vietnam, oversaw its day-to-day operations.

On May 20, 2015, Raya Airways appointed it as its general sales agent in Singapore.

The contract was procured and signed by Jereemy Tan on behalf of IG Aviation and Mr Shashitheren, who was Raya Airways’ commercial director at that time. He was promoted to executive director and chief executive in May 2016.

As part of the contract, IG Aviation was required to sell 146 tonnes of cargo space each month and it would profit by charging a mark-up on the space sold to customers who wished to ship items via Raya Airways.

If IG Aviation failed to fulfil its end of the contract, it would still have to pay Raya Airways the agreed monthly fee for the space. This contract was initially for a period of one year but was renewed and remained in force until April 2018.

IG Aviation was unable to fulfil the contract in its first three months, and Mr Shashitheren called Jereemy Tan saying he wanted the company to pay him a bribe of 15 US cents per kg of cargo space that it sold for the cargo airline monthly.

In return, Mr Shashitheren would consider IG Aviation’s cargo sales performance over a period of three to six months instead of on a monthly basis, meaning shortfall in certain months could be offset from other months.

IG Aviation could thus avoid paying for unsold cargo space each month and Raya Airways would not terminate the contract.

Jereemy Tan told Peter Tan about the request and he agreed. The two men also agreed that Jereemy Tan should be handling the payments to Mr Shashitheren.

Some time in December 2015, Peter Tan told his son about the scheme and he also agreed to it.

After Mr Shashitheren was asked to leave Raya Airways in February 2017, they stopped paying bribes to him.

For each charge of corruption, father and son could each have been jailed for five years, fined up to $100,000 or both.

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