Duo Jailed For Bribery Scheme To Cover Up Shortfall in Security Officers Deployed At Takashimaya Departmental Store
On 19 October 2021, Chan Kuen Thong (“Chan”) (陈建堂), a 64-year-old male Singaporean) who was in-charge of Takashimaya Departmental Store’s (“TDS”) security department at the material time, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of S$42,500 for accepting bribes. The giver, Mandhir Singh Karpal Singh (“Mandhir”), a 30-year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident who was then the director of White Knights Security Services Pte Ltd (“White Knights”), was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for corruption on 16 August 2021.
2. As a Senior Divisional Manager of Takashimaya Singapore Ltd (“Takashimaya”) and the in-charge of TDS’s security department at the material time, Chan’s duties were to source for quotations from security agencies and ensure that the contracted security agencies were providing their services in accordance with their contractual agreements. Investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) revealed that sometime in 2016, Chan was tasked to source for quotations from security agencies as their existing security service provider was not able to fulfil the terms of their contract. Mandhir’s company, White Knights, was one of the three companies which responded to Chan. Based on Chan’s recommendations to Takashimaya’s management, White Knights was awarded a one-year security contract commencing 1 January 2017. Subsequently, two additional two-year security contracts were awarded to White Knights: the first two-year security contract commencing from 1 January 2018, and the second two-year security contract commencing from 1 January 2020. Under the above contracts, White Knights were to supply to TDS 18 security officers for the day shift and 6 security officers for the night shift. In the event there was a shortfall in the number of security officers deployed at TDS, Takashimaya was entitled to issue claims for the costs of the undeployed security officers (“shortfall costs”).
3. CPIB investigations further revealed that since the start of the first contract in January 2017, Mandhir faced a frequent shortfall of about three to five security officers for the day shift. In the second week of January 2017, Chan complained to Mandhir about the shortfall, which resulted in some security posts being left unmanned. Sometime later that same month, Chan called Mandhir for a meeting where Chan asked Mandhir to pay him a sum of S$4,000 every month, so that Chan would not issue claims for shortfall costs. Mandhir agreed to the corrupt arrangement as it would save White Knights between S$12,300 and S$20,500 each month based on the average shortfall of three to five security officers. Furthermore, by agreeing to this arrangement, Mandhir could save himself the trouble of having to find more security officers for deployment at TDS, and continue to secure contract renewals with Takashimaya. Between February 2017 to May 2020, Mandhir gave cash gratifications totalling S$121,000 over 20 occasions to Chan. In return, Chan refrained from issuing claims for shortfall costs against White Knights. For giving and accepting gratifications, Mandhir and Chan were respectively charged under Sections 6(b) and 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act on 17 March 2021.
4. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence under Section 6 of the Prevention of Corruption Act can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years or to both.
5. Companies are strongly advised to put in place robust procedures in areas such as procurement and internal audit to prevent falling victim to corrupt acts by their employees. Guidance for companies on measures to prevent corruption can be found in PACT: A Practical Anti-Corruption Guide for Businesses in Singapore, which is available on CPIB’s website. Companies are also strongly encouraged to obtain certification under the Singapore Standard (SS) ISO 37001 – Anti-Bribery Management Systems, which is designed to help companies implement or enhance an anti-bribery management system to reduce corporate risk and costs related to bribery
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau