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Singapore: Former Petro-Diamond employee sentenced in court for accepting bribe

26 Apr 2021

The Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Thursday, (22 April) said Annamalai Arunachalam, a Singaporean male, who was the Head of IT of Petro-Diamond Singapore Pte Ltd (PDS), was sentenced to a SGD7,500 (USD 5,656) fine and a SGD 3,000 penalty for corruptly accepting SGD 3,000 from Palanivel Selvakumar (Selvakumar).

Selvakumar, also a Singaporean male, who was the Director of Sysnet Systems and Solutions Pte Ltd (SSS) at the time, had given the gratification as a reward for Arunachalam awarding a PDS project to SSS. Selvakumar was earlier sentenced to a fine of SGD 7,500 in July 2020 for this offence.

CPIB said its investigations revealed that sometime in 2016, PDS decided to move its office operations and required IT assistance to supply and install IT infrastructure in its new office premises.

SSS, an existing vendor of PDS, was one of the vendors who had submitted a quote for this project. When Arunachalam subsequently took over as PDS’ Head of IT in March 2016, one of his tasks was to review the different quotations and make recommendations to the Chief Financial Officer of PDS. Arunachalam also took over as Selvakumar’s point of contact with PDS, reported CPIB.

Subsequently, Selvakumar met Arunachalam to enquire about the status of the quotation to which Arunachalam informed that he was still assessing the quotations.

Arunachalam also shared that he was undergoing a lot of stress at work and was disappointed that he did not receive a pay raise despite having to manage two portfolios as Head of IT and Head of Risk Management Systems.

Selvakumar was concerned that Arunachalam would decide to step down as Head of IT or leave PDS, as he might not be able to maintain the same good relations between SSS and PDS if a new Head of IT replaced Arunachalam. Thus, he encouraged Arunachalam to remain as PDS’ Head of IT and suggested that SSS could offer him some form of ‘sales incentive’ if SSS was awarded the project.

Arunachalam did not respond to Selvakumar’s offer at the meeting. However, following his review of the quotations received, Arunachalam did eventually recommend to his CFO that the PDS Office Project be awarded to SSS.

SSS was awarded the project and eventually billed PDS a total of more than SGD 326,000 for the project. Subsequently, sometime between July and August 2016, Selvakumar gave Arunachalam SGD3,000 as a token of appreciation for awarding the project to SSS, and the latter accepted the monies.

Their acts of corruptly giving and accepting gratification as a reward for the awarding of the PDS Office Project to SSS constituted corruption offences and they were charged under Section 6(b) and 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act respectively on 1 July 2020.

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 26 April, 2021

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