SINGAPORE - In a twist to the Ikea corruption case, one of the masterminds behind the plot to skim millions of dollars through inflated food contracts walked away a free man on Wednesday, while his two convicted partners serve at least 10 months in jail.
Mr Leng Kah Poh, 52, was acquitted of corruption and his jail sentence of nearly two years was quashed by High Court judge Choo Han Teck, who said: "What the appellant did was wrong but it was not an offence of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act."
When contacted, the Attorney- General's Chambers would only say that it was studying the grounds of decision carefully.
In February, the former Ikea food and beverage manager was found guilty of 80 corruption charges in accepting $2.3 million in bribes to give contracts to two food suppliers.
He was given the longest jail term of the three accused.
He was the only one to appeal.
On Wednesday, Justice Choo said that to establish a charge of corruption, Mr Leng had to have been induced by a third party to act against the interests of Ikano, the company that runs the Ikea furniture stores here. But in this case, there was no third party since it was Mr Leng himself who came up with the idea to rip off Ikano.
Mr Leng declined to comment on his acquittal, although his lawyer S. K. Kumar said he was emotional, happy and relieved.