ICA officer charged with accepting bribes from foreigners for extending their stay

SINGAPORE - Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali allegedly helped foreigners prolong their stay in Singapore by facilitating the granting of visit passes. In return, he charged "fees" of between $250 and $550 from the foreigners, who were all women from Vietnam and the Philippines.

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Here is the full press release from CPIB:

In mid-2011, the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) cracked a corruption case involving Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers who allegedly facilitated the granting of Visit Passes (VP) to assist foreigners in prolonging their stay in Singapore in return for monetary gains. The successful crackdown would not be possible without the assistance of the ICA, who worked closely with the CPIB when the case surfaced.

The accused, Mohammed Mustaffa Bin Mohabat Ali (Mustaffa), was attached to Tuas Checkpoint as a Primary Screening Officer whose duties included the assessing of whether foreigners meet entry requirements, inspecting travellers' passports and granting VP to visitors to enter and remain in Singapore.

Investigations revealed that between October 2010 to June 2011, the accused had allegedly accepted gratifications in return for granting VP to Filipino and Vietnamese women for their stay in Singapore. Mustaffa worked mainly with one Philibert Tng Hai Swee, who would refer the foreigners to him. Philibert would provide transportation to the foreigners, drive them through the checkpoint and seek out Mustaffa to grant the VP when he is on duty at the checkpoint. The foreigners would be charged fees between $250 and $550 for each occasion.

Mustaffa had also recruited three other ICA officers, namely Mohamed Nazrul Bin Noor Mohamed, Lukmanulhakim Bin Samsun and Ezhar Bin Kamis, and one former ICA officer, Nor Hidayat Bin Mohamed Hussain, to facilitate such illicit services. The three ICA officers are no longer in service with ICA.

Mustaffa, who has since been interdicted, will be charged in Court on 4 September 2013. There are 35 charges against him; 22 counts of corruptly accepting gratification and seven counts of corruptly agreeing to accept gratification under Section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241; four counts of corruptly giving gratification and two counts of corruptly offering gratification under Section 6(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241. The respective charges for Mustaffa are attached for reference.

Singapore has always adopted a zero tolerance approach towards corruption and criminal activities. CPIB takes a serious view of any corrupt practices, and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved, even if they are public officers.