Man jailed and fined for fuel scam

Man jailed and fined for fuel scam

A boatman with a bunkering firm was sentenced to six weeks in prison and ordered to pay a US$200 (S$250) penalty on Wednesday for his part in an illegal "buyback" transaction, in which the amount of fuel pumped into a vessel is fraudulently overdeclared - and the excess "sold back" to the supplier.

Lam Tat Fei, 34, engaged in a conspiracy with cargo officer and colleague Jason Choo Soo Beng, 44, to pay bribes to get a false declaration that the vessel had received 120 tonnes of excess marine fuel.

He also received US$200 for helping with the transaction.

The fraud came out of 2,700 tonnes earmarked by Lam's employer, Sea Hub Energy, to be supplied to vessel MT Front Splendour on Jan 20 last year.

Only 2,542 tonnes were actually delivered.

But Choo, together with a marine surveyor who had his palms greased, falsified documents to declare 2,662 tonnes had been received instead.

The ship's chief engineer, 34-year-old Antonov Sergey, was paid US$8,400 (S$10,500) out of a US$18,000 (S$22,490) sum which he agreed to sell back the excess fuel for.

The Russian was jailed for two weeks and fined $30,000, and was also ordered to pay a US$6,750 (S$8,434) penalty.

This was the balance of the bribe money that the authorities were unable to recover from Sergey.

The marine surveyor, Victor Loh Tuck Seng, 36, was paid US$5,500 (S$6,872).

He was jailed two weeks and fined $25,000.

Choo, meanwhile, pocketed US$3,900 (S$4,873). He was jailed for eight weeks.

The three men had pleaded guilty to various charges.

Lam, however, fought three counts of corruption but was convicted by a district court on Wednesday.

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