Fifth ex-ICA officer jailed in 'U-turn' case

Fifth ex-ICA officer jailed in 'U-turn' case

SINGAPORE - A former Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer who accepted a bribe to help foreigners prolong their stay in Singapore was jailed for four months yesterday.

Ezhar Kamis, 25, then an ICA specialist holding the rank of corporal, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $50.

He admitted to corruptly accepting $50 from his colleague, Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali, 29, as a reward to grant 30-day social visit passes to two Filipinas to enter Singapore at Tuas checkpoint on March 1, 2011.

Three of Ezhar's then-colleagues have also been given similar sentences for taking bribes.

Mustaffa, the mastermind, was jailed for 21 months and ordered to pay a penalty of $8,050 last December. He had come up with the scheme to help foreigners do a "U-turn" for a fee. In a "U-turn" case, the foreigner exits Singapore to a nearby country, such as Malaysia, and re-enters the country within the same day or a short time to get a fresh social visit pass.

Besides collaborating with Philibert Tng Hai Swee who would ferry the Filipino nationals, Mustaffa also recruited four other ICA specialists, including Ezhar, to help him in the scheme.

Investigations showed that Mustaffa instructed his colleagues to grant the foreigners he would send to them a fresh 30-day visit pass without carrying out the necessary checks.

On March 1, 2011, the two Filipinas did a U-turn at Tuas checkpoint. As Mustaffa was not on duty that day, he had arranged with Ezhar to facilitate the two women's entry into Singapore.

Ezhar had a second charge of agreeing to accept $50 taken into consideration.

His lawyer Anil Singh said Ezhar, who got married last October, was not motivated by profit, and his services had been terminated by the ICA. The maximum penalty for corruption is a $100,000 fine and five years' jail.

This article was published on May 10 in The Straits Times.

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