Former director at British Council gets jail for obtaining over S$100,000 in bribes

Former director at British Council gets jail for obtaining over S$100,000 in bribes

SINGAPORE: A former director of resources at the British Council in Singapore was sentenced to 16 weeks ‘ jail on Monday ( May 27 ) for taking more than S$ 100, 000 ( US$ 74, 000 ) in bribes from vendors.

Lee Kok Keong admitted to three works of obtaining money under the Prevention of Corruption Act, with additional 12 matters being considered.

The jury heard that the 50- year- ancient Singaporean worked at the British Council, the United Kingdom’s global organisation for social relations and education opportunities.

As the chairman of tools, he was in charge of planning and budgeting for the control of the British Council’s facilities.

Kok Keong got to know inc- accused Lee Lian Hiang, a 55- year- ancient Taiwanese director of BuildCool Engineering Services, as Lian Hiang’s company was a lengthy- time vendor for the British Council.

On top of this business partnership, Kok Keong was also a home agent representing Lian Hiang’s family. Kok Keong’s part career was approved by the British Council as long as he was never involved in any property-related issues related to the British Council or its employees.

Around 2014, the two men came to terms with the agreement that Kok Keong may assist in the British Council’s procurement of functions. With the advantage of time to prepare for the sweet, Kok Keong was to inform Lian Hiang about pending plays to be completed.

Kok Keong may often ask BuildCool to offer for all jobs, increasing its chances of getting hired. He had collaborate with Lian Hiang to come up with suggested work prices, thus Kok Keong could establish a project budget.

Kok Keong even assisted BuildCool by speaking with Lian Hiang about the tenders from different vendors and assisting him in getting ready for questions posed by tender committee interviews.

In exchange, the two men would discuss what” cut” of profits Kok Keong was to receive. There was no set amount or portion, and Kok Keong may take the cash from Lian Hiang at a car park in Dempsey, at the Housing and Development Board Hub, near Lian Hiang’s business or in Lian Hiang’s vehicles.

Kok Keong requested money to prevent leaving a trail of papers. He used the entire sum to pay his credit card bills, as well as for everyday expenses for himself and his community.

Between 2014 and 2018, Kok Keong received a full of S$ 84, 500 from Lian Hiang for helping BuildCool.

Kok Keong likewise took another S$ 15, 800 in bribes from 2015 to 2020 from inc- accused Ong Seck Cheng, a 52- yr- old Taiwanese director of Encompass Construction, a company providing business renovation services.

In exchange, he similarly helped Ong secure projects with the British Council.

With Ong, Kok Keong received about 5 to 10 per cent of the value of the entire contract won as commission.

In total across the corrupt arrangements with both co- accused, Kok Keong received S$ 100, 300 in bribes. He has since made full restitution.

Lee’s lawyers, Mr Adrian Wee and Ms Lynette Chang from Lighthouse Law, sought eight to 10 weeks ‘ jail.

Mr Wee said his client voluntarily made full restitution. A married man with two children, Kok Keong first joined the British Council in 1988, said the lawyer.

Mr Wee said Kok Keong had” no authority to select project vendors” on behalf of the British Council, despite his role. Despite his title, he did not occupy a senior position, said the lawyer.

He added that Kok Keong volunteered the details about the Encompass bribes despite the fact that his client was initially subject to an investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau only regarding the BuildCool projects.

On June 24, Kok Keong was given the opportunity to begin serving his sentence.