Mok Kim Whang, 65, last week pleaded guilty to one charge of graft and 49 charges of falsification of accounts in what The Straits Times called ‘one of the largest graft scandals in Singapore’.
Prior to Mok’s conviction, another ST Marine executive was sentenced to a lengthy jail term while another senior executive awaits sentencing.
Mok was originally charged with 827 counts of falsification of accounts but pleaded guilty to 50 only.
The remaining 777 charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.
Records from ST Marine showed that almost $25 million in kickbacks were paid starting from Mok’s tenure from 2000 to 2004 until 2011.
The scheme worked in such a way that ST Marine’s customers’ employees—mostly overseas companies—would ask for ‘commissions’ in return for business contracts.
“After getting approval from ST Marine's senior management, an employee would submit petty cash claims for ’entertainment expenses‘. Cash cheques issued for these claims would be encashed, and the amount given as a kickback,” reported The Straits Times
Deputy presiding judge of the state courts Jennifer Marie said that Mok did not personally pocket any cash but was only continuing “a pre-existing practice at ST Marine to pay bribes to its customers’ employees, and to cover up the kickbacks with a false paper trail.”
“This sentence adequately recognises the need to send a strong signal to deter like-minded offenders that there are painful consequences that will flow from weak willed corporate executives,” she explained.
“Where there is a case of such rampant disregard of the law, it will be incumbent on senior officers to take a stand and if it is not possible to put an end to such illegal activities - then they should part company or the industry to report the activities to the authorities.”
Mok is expected to begin his jail term today (28 September).
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The former senior vice-president of shipbuilder ST Marine has been sentenced to 20 weeks in jail and slapped with a $100,000 fine for graft and falsification of accounts.