SINGAPORE - The head of a local mould-manufacturer who gave bribes of more than $500,000 to an Apple global supply manager to advance his company's business interest was jailed for nine months on Friday.
Chua Kim Guan alias Jacky Chua, 47, who founded Jin Li Mould Manufacturing, faced 14 bribery charges totalling US$387,600 (S$562,742). The former managing director of Jin Li admitted on Wednesday to five charges of corruptly giving between US$30,000 and US$90,000 each time to Paul Shin Devine, an American then employed by Apple in the US, between 2007 and 2009.
In his oral grounds of decision, District Judge Eugene Teo spoke about the adverse impact of corruption if it is left unchecked.
"Imagine business and commerce transacted not based on merit and substance, but on the murky basis of opaque favours to a chosen few. When that happens, save for those chosen few, everyone else ultimately suffers. In effect, they are greasing their own palms at everyone else's expense,'' he said.
Chua stepped down as executive chairman of listed JLJ Holdings, which owns Jin Li, in August 2010 around the time he admitted to the anti-graft agency here that he had given bribes. Devine has been indicted and is yet to be sentenced in the US for wire fraud, money-laundering and carrying out transactions with "criminally derived property".
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ilona Tan said Devine was responsible for, among other things, procuring parts and materials for making iPods and iPhones and selecting suppliers.
Devine had business dealings with Jin Li, which had been working with Apple since 2001.
When Devine came to Singapore in early 2006 to assess Jin Li, Chua asked him for a favour - tip him off on Apple's upcoming projects and give Jin Li more business opportunities. In return, Chua offered bribes for all the projects awarded to his company. Devine later agreed to the offer.
Devine had disclosed confidential information to various employees of Jin Li, such as quotations submitted by Jin Li's rivals.
Investigations showed Chua would withdraw the bribe money from his personal Singapore dollar bank account and convert it into US dollars.
Mostly, he would ask his brother-in-law, then Jin Li's sales director Andrew Ang Kok Kiat, 38, to liaise with Devine and meet him in Singapore, the US, China or Macau to hand him the bribes.
On other occasions, he would ask a friend called Ah Gee in Macau to hand over the bribes. Chua had also handed the bribes to Devine personally.
Ms Tan said the estimated total value of the contracts awarded by Apple to Jin Li between 2007 and 2010 was US$55.8 million. She added that Jin Li's profitability was highly dependent on its business with the technology giant.
Judge Teo noted the lucrative business with Apple but said that anyone who had profited through corrupt means - especially those who initiate it - should not escape with just a financial penalty.
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