MOM officer jailed over sexual bribes

MOM officer jailed over sexual bribes
Norezwan Em, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) investigation officer

A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) investigation officer who had sex with a Chinese national on the pretext that he could help her extend her stay was jailed for eight months yesterday.

Norezwan Em, 28, had pleaded guilty to three counts of corruptly getting sexual favours from the 26-year-old between October and November last year.

They first met on Oct 16, after the woman lodged a complaint with the ministry that she had not been given a job despite paying an agent. Norezwan was the Foreign Manpower Management Division's senior investigation officer. After recording a statement from the woman, he gave her a special pass to stay in Singapore to assist in investigations. The pass was to be renewed weekly at MOM.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaun Lee said Norezwan contacted the woman several times in his personal capacity and they met on non-official occasions. Norezwan gave her the impression that he could help prolong her stay. He first received oral sex from her at a park in Clementi on Oct 30. They went to a hotel in Geylang for sex on Nov 2 and 6.

When he told her on Nov 7 she could stay in Singapore for only a month, she went to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

Norezwan's lawyer Louis Joseph from Regent Law said while his client could not escape a jail term because of the damage done to the integrity and reputation of the civil service, he argued for not more than three months' jail, given Norezwan's early plea of guilt and remorse.

District Judge Eugene Teo said this was an ordinary woman seeking official recourse in a foreign country after having suffered a grievance. "No one in that position should have to think that they have to offer up anything extra just to get our public service to do its job," he said.

Instead of helping her, Norezwan used his position and exploited her precisely where and when she was most vulnerable. "In this sort of unbalanced position between the parties, it matters little that the woman simply complied and gave in to the gratifications thus extracted.

"There is a clear public interest in the preservation of the integrity of the public service, and a deterrent sentence is amply justified in such cases."

Norezwan, who had been suspended from duty, could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each charge.

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