Former BP Employee and Bunker Supplier Jailed For Corruption
On 11 May 2021, Chang Peng Hong Clarence (“Chang”) (张炳鸿), a former Eastern Regional Director for Marine Fuels with BP Singapore Pte Ltd (“BP”), was sentenced to 54 months’ imprisonment for receiving bribes. He was also ordered to pay a penalty of S$6,220,095. Koh Seng Lee (“Koh”) (許勝利), the Executive Director of Pacific Prime Trading Pte Ltd (“PPT”), who had given the bribes, was also sentenced to 54 months’ imprisonment for corruption on the same day.
2. On 16 July 2020, District Judge Ong Chin Rhu convicted Chang and Koh for offences punishable under section 5 and 6 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241. The District Judge found that Chang had suggested that Koh set up PPT to be a trading counterparty of BP, on the understanding that Chang would advance the business interest of PPT with BP and would therefore be entitled to payments in return. Between July 2006 to July 2010, pursuant to their corrupt agreement, Koh gave a total of USD3.95 million to Chang and also corruptly agreed to give Chang S$500,000 as a form of investment in a franchise education business which Chang’s wife was involved in.
3. Chang separately faces money laundering offences punishable under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, Chapter 65A (“CDSA”). It was alleged that he had transferred nearly S$4.7million of corrupt proceeds from a Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (“HSBC”) account in Hong Kong to a POSB Bank Singapore account and two other HSBC Singapore accounts and converted nearly S$4 million (which in whole or in part, were direct or indirect benefits of corrupt proceeds) to acquire three private landed properties and two condominiums. He was also charged with converting S$111,000 of corrupt proceeds to acquire share capital in in a pre-school. The money laundering charges had been stood down for the purpose of his corruption trial, and will be dealt with subsequently.
4. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years or to both. Any person who is convicted of accepting gratification can also be ordered to pay a penalty, which is a sum equal to the amount of that gratification. Any person who is convicted of a money laundering offence can be fined up to $500,000 or sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years or to both.
5. To avoid falling victim to dishonest practices by rogue employees seeking personal gains, companies are strongly advised to put in place robust procedures in areas such as procurement and internal audit. 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, which is designed to help companies implement or enhance a corporate governance system to reduce corporate risk and costs related to bribery and fraud.
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau