Four ICA officers charged with graft

SINGAPORE - An alleged bid to help Filipinas prolong their stay in Singapore may buy four officers a stay in jail.

The former Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) specialists, who worked at the Tuas checkpoint, are said to have accepted money in return for granting 30-day social-visit passes to the Filipinas.

Ezhar Kamis, 25, Lukmanul Hakim Samsun, 29, Mohamed Nazrul Noor Mohamed, 34, and Nor Hidayat Hussain, 26, were charged with corruption yesterday morning.

They received between $50 and $100 each time for allowing the women to enter Singapore, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement yesterday.

The four men were said to be cronies in the scheme concocted by former ICA officer Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali, 29, who has since been sentenced to 21 months in jail and ordered to pay a penalty of $8,050.

On Dec 9, the court heard that Mustaffa had told the four men to grant the foreigners new 30-day social-visit passes, supplied by him, without carrying out the checks required by ICA.

The four are alleged to have let the women enter Singapore at different times between November 2010 and June 2011.

ICA said that the men's case surfaced through its internal checks and investigations. It had also worked closely with the CPIB to crack the case.

Yesterday, Lukmanul said he wishes to seek legal advice, while Hidayat will be claiming trial. The four men's cases have been adjourned to next month.

A corruption sentence carries a maximum fine of $100,000, up to five years in jail, or both.