Curiosity kills: MOM officer gets jail for obtaining info of colleagues' salaries from bank staff

Curiosity kills: MOM officer gets jail for obtaining info of colleagues' salaries from bank staff
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A levy administration manager at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was curious about his colleagues' salary details and asked a bank officer to help him obtain the information.

The prosecution said that Dinath Silvamany Muthaliyar wanted to ascertain his standing in respect of his salary at the ministry.

Liong Yan Sin, who was then working as a collections officer at DBS, agreed to help him and conducted multiple unauthorised searches on the bank's computer system.

After that, he shared the salary details with Dinath via WhatsApp.

Dinath, 35, was sentenced to five weeks' jail on Thursday (Sept 14) after he pleaded guilty to eight charges including four under the Computer Misuse Act.

The Straits Times has contacted MOM to find out if he is still employed with the ministry.

Liong, then 32, who is no longer working for DBS, was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in November 2022.

He had pleaded guilty to multiple charges including 10 under the Computer Misuse Act for accessing customers' details without authorisation.

A third man, Ang Kok How, who was not linked to Dinath's offences, was sentenced to two weeks' jail in May 2023.

Ang, then 35, had admitted to an offence under the Act for abetting Liong in making an unauthorised search on the bank's customer information system.

DBS had employed Liong as a collections officer from July 2016 to December 2018.

As part of his job scope, he was given access to the customer information system, which allowed him to retrieve customer details.

It was made clear to him when he joined the bank that he was not to access customer details outside the scope of his duties.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Shi Yin said that before working for MOM, Dinath was Liong's colleague at the bank.

From June 2018, Dinath asked for Liong's help to find out about the salary details of his MOM colleagues and the latter agreed.

Liong then obtained the necessary information involving four people in July and November that year before sharing them with Dinath.

On Thursday, DPP Tan asked for Dinath to be given between six and seven weeks' jail, adding: "The accused instigated Liong into disclosing the salary details of his colleagues...In disclosing the salary details...there was a grave abuse of Liong's position as a collections officer at DBS."

Defence lawyer S. S. Dhillon pleaded for his client to be given three weeks' jail.

Stressing that this case involved Dinath's first brush with the law, the lawyer from Dhillon & Panoo said: "(He) regrets his foolish actions...he had no intent to misuse the information provided."

Dinath's bail was set at $15,000 on Thursday, and he was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Sept 22 to begin serving his sentence.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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