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Singapore: Investigations uncover USD 3.6 million worth of bunker short deliveries by Vermont UM Bunkering

25 Jul 2022

Investigations by local authorities have uncovered staff of former Singapore bunker supplier Vermont UM Bunkering Pte Ltd (Vermont) short delivering USD 3.6 million (exact: USD 3,645, 976.34) worth of marine fuel to 14 clients* over 52 occasions between 4 January 2014 and 2 March 2016.

The development involved Poh Fu Teck (Director), Koh Seng Lee (Director), Lee Kok Leong (Bunker Manager), Lee Peck Yong (Cargo Officer), Loh Cheok San (Senior Cargo Officer) and two absconded staff namely Yang San Hua (Director) and Xing Tao (Financial Controller).

Loh Cheok San (Mr Loh) was at the State Courts of Singapore on Thursday (21 July) when he pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code read with Section 109 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed).

He gained SGD 48,800 worth of commission from “buyback” bunker transactions and illegally obtained SGD 410,712.257 by cheating Vermont, according to court documents obtained by Manifold Times.

“Buyback” Bunker Transactions

Mr Loh receive about SGD 10 per metric tonne (pmt) of marine fuel oil as commission for participating in “buyback” transactions which would be split 50-50 between him and any cargo office involved in the transaction.

He is estimated to have earned a commission of at least SGD 43,600 from the “buyback” transactions he participated in – calculated from multiplying SGD 5 pmt by the 8,720 metric tonnes of under-delivered marine fuel oil.

Extra Commission Cheated from Vermont

Further, Mr Loh said he was instructed by Lee Kok Leong to over-declare “buyback” figures to Vermont in order to gain extra money for sharing with his peers. This resulted in him earning an estimated extra commission of SGD 5,200 from Vermont.

Cheating Vermont

Investigations also uncovered Vermont being cheated of at least USD 979,750 in total by Mr Loh, Lee Kok Leong, and Gerald Lee.

The difference between what was declared to Vermont and the amount actually paid to the Chief Engineer of the vessel would be split equally between the three individuals after paying the cargo assistant, usually SGD 5 pmt.

It is estimated Loh’s share of the difference was about USD 314,960.95 (SGD 410,712.257).

Mr Loh, who has not made any restitution of his illegal gains to date, has been scheduled to face sentencing in October 2022.

*Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times has chosen to withhold the names of these 14 clients

Related: Directors of Vermont granted leave to pursue legal suits against Goldsland and Sin Hua
Related: Vermont UM Bunkering makes winding up application at Singapore High Court
Related: Vermont UM Bunkering Directors plan to defend claims from Hong Kong firms
Related: Goldsland Holdings moves in to secure US $22 million from Vermont UM Bunkering
Related: Bank seeks $38 million from arrested Singapore bunker tankers
Related: Singapore: Four bunker tankers arrested
Related: Singapore-based Vermont UM Bunkering directors, staff charged for fraud


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 25 July, 2022

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