SCDF ex-director claims trial over 'pocketing' of 2 iPads

The director of technology at the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), who has been accused of misappropriating two Apple iPad tablets, apparently wanted to buy the products, a district court heard yesterday.

Jeganathan Ramasamy, 63, who was director of the technology department from 2007 to 2012, claimed trial to two charges of criminal breach of trust involving two iPad 2s, worth a total of $1,877 in September 2011.

The court heard yesterday from Wong Soon Nam, 51, vice-president, communications engineering of NCS. He told Jeganathan in a text message that the two iPad 2s were to test the new mobile apps that the information technology firm was rolling out for SCDF.

The messages included the sentences "for you to trial" and "so this is tool to facilitate testing".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said in his opening statement that the iPads were provided to SCDF by NCS for the agency to test mobile applications that NCS was to develop and launch for SCDF.

Despite knowing the iPad 2s were for SCDF use, Jeganathan sold one and gave the other to his daughter, now 28, the court heard.

One of them was sold to his colleague Eric Yap Wee Teck, then senior director for emergency services of SCDF, for $200.

Commissioner Yap, 45, was appointed head of SCDF in February 2012.

Mr Wong testified that he met Jeganathan at SCDF's premises on Sept 7, 2011 to present NCS' plan. He was with then NCS director of business development Esther Goh Tok Mui and another colleague.

Later that day, Jeganathan noticed they were using the newly-launched iPads and asked how much they cost. Mr Wong explained that the iPad was bought at a staff rate.

"There was, in general, an agreement that we will do proof of concept and trial with SCDF," he said. "Proof of concept is a software application that NCS will develop together with SCDF to help in problem solving," he said.

He later told Ms Goh to follow up with the trial and proof of concept.

The next day, he said Jeganathan sent him a text message that he was "serious about the iPad...Any good news". Mr Wong replied that his colleague was arranging the trial and proof of concept, and forwarded Jeganathan's text messages to her.

Asked by Mr Hon if the iPad was for sale or loan to SCDF, Mr Wong replied: "It was meant to be a loan. Therefore, we do not expect SCDF to pay for it."

Asked if there was a period for the loan, Mr Wong said he did not know then, but found out later that there was no definition of a loan period.

If convicted, Jeganathan could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined on each charge. The trial continues.

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