Ex-staff sergeant gets jail, fine over $800 bribe

SINGAPORE - A former Singapore Armed Forces staff sergeant who took an $800 bribe to help a full-time national serviceman (NSF) convert his army driving permit to a civilian licence was jailed for two months on Monday.

Mohammad Yani Saharawee, 33, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $800 after pleading guilty to corruptly accepting the sum from his subordinate Eng Boon Wei's father on Feb 17 last year. Yani, a father of two who has served in the army for 15 years, could have been fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years. The 22-year-old NSF was given a stern warning.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shaun Lee told the court that once an SAF driver had clocked 7,000km mileage without a major accident, he could convert the army driving permit into a Class 3 and 4 driving licence. NSF Eng had clocked about half of that in the army.

Sometime in August or September 2011, he approached Yani, then a sergeant major with the Safti Military Institute, saying that he wanted to drive more so that he could register enough mileage to convert his licence.

Yani instead told the NSF that for $800, there was another way.

He told Mr Eng to put his name down in the log sheet for vehicles that the accused himself had driven during an overseas SAF exercise in Germany, bringing his total mileage to more than 7,000km. Yani then recommended the NSF for the licence conversion.

But after Mr Eng received his civilian licence in February last year, he did not pay Yani and ignored his calls. Yani then contacted the NSF's father Eng Ah Guan and told him that his son owed him $800.

The older Mr Eng subsequently transferred the amount to Yani's POSB bank account.

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