Ex-business director convicted of corruption

Ex-business director convicted of corruption
Mark Edward Tjong, 49, will be sentenced on Aug 5. He has been cleared of another graft charge.

A former business director of an ST Electronics subsidiary was cleared of one corruption charge, but convicted of another after an 11-day trial.

Mark Edward Tjong, 49, was yesterday found guilty of obtaining - through his then girlfriend Ho Su-Ling - a S$57,387 bribe from Mr Mujibur Rahman in 2006.

At the time, Tjong was employed by ST Electronics (Info-Software) Systems (STE).

The money, deposited into Ms Ho's bank account, was his reward for appointing Mr Rahman to help with a project with the Bangladesh police.

Mr Rahman, 65, was the managing director of Kings Shipping & Trading Co, a Bangladeshi firm that handled government contracts. Tjong, however, was acquitted of a second graft charge. Like in the first offence, he was accused of taking a S$30,000 bribe from Mr Rahman as a reward for engaging the Bangladeshi in the same project.

The US citizen and Singapore permanent resident is appealing against his conviction. He will be sentenced on Aug 5 after mitigation by his lawyers Shashi Nathan and Tania Chin.

As a business director, Tjong's job scope included sourcing for tenders from South Asian countries for the senior management of STE.

Mr Rahman was an appointed agent of STE who succeeded in helping the Singapore company clinch a deal to supply the Bangladesh Police Department with walkie-talkies and a telecommunication network.

An agency agreement was signed between STE - represented by Tjong - and Mr Rahman in March 2006 in Dhaka.

After he was paid his 7 per cent commission of S$185,425 four months later, Mr Rahman asked Tjong what he could do for him. The court heard that he felt obligated to Tjong for his help in securing his appointment as an agent.

Mr Rahman handed two blank pre-signed cheques to Tjong, who wrote the amounts and deposited the cheques into the bank account of Ms Ho, 39, who is now his wife.

District Judge Liew Thiam Leng did not buy the defence's story that the S$57,387 cheque was meant to pay for 10 Bangladeshi police officers' trip to Italy as part of the contract between STE and Bangladeshi police.

But the judge accepted the defence story that money in the second cheque was used to defray expenses for the tuition fees of Mr Rahman's son due to "documentary evidence where there were telegraphic transfers made".

In discharging Tjong of the second charge, Judge Liew said the court was satisfied that the defence had succeeded in raising a reasonable doubt.

The maximum penalty for corruption is a S$100,000 fine and five years' jail.

This article was first published on July 25, 2014.
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