Ex-owner of fish wholesale company gave at least $220,500 in bribes to FairPrice staff

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Aug 11, 2023

The former owner of a fish wholesale company was sentenced to 14 months’ jail on Friday after he gave at least $220,500 in bribes to FairPrice employees.

Ng Keng Meng, 59, who used to own Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co, committed the offences between 2013 and 2020 to advance the business interests of his company with the supermarket chain.

He will spend another three weeks behind bars over an unrelated charge of causing hurt to two people while driving a van in a dangerous manner.

For this traffic offence, Lim was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of two years from his date of release.

In July, he pleaded guilty to offences, including three graft charges involving $90,000.

Six other similar charges involving the remaining $130,500 were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Two former FairPrice employees linked to his case were dealt with in court earlier.

Lim Kian Kok, then 48, a former senior team leader at the supermarket chain, was sentenced to four years and five months’ jail in March after pleading guilty to 12 graft charges.

Former FairPrice team leader See Hock Lam, then 70, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of corruption, was given three years and two months’ jail the following month.

The pair’s offences involved several companies, including Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co.

Lim and See had split their ill-gotten gains from the various companies equally, with each receiving $261,500.

Their offences included ordering larger quantities of fish and seafood from suppliers that bribed them.

See joined FairPrice in 1997 and later reported to Lim. His duties included helping Lim order crabs and prawns.

Lim, who joined FairPrice in 2007, became a senior team leader in 2013 and oversaw its buying operations at Jurong Fishery Port. He had the discretion to determine which suppliers to buy fish from.

Shortly after he became a senior team leader, he approached See and asked the older man if he “wanted to make money”.

See agreed to the plan as he needed cash to feed his gambling habit. The pair later approached multiple suppliers for bribes.

At Lim’s suggestion, See told Ng some time on or before July 2013 that Lim would purchase more fish from Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co if Ng gave them $2,500 a month.

Ng agreed, and at the end of each month he would give See the monies in cash at a carpark near See’s home. At times, Ng would place the cash in a mailbox.

In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei told the court that Lim then purchased larger quantities of seafood from Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co.

The bribes continued until September 2020, when the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau started looking into the case.

In an unrelated case, Ng was driving a van in Jalan Anak Bukit towards Upper Bukit Timah Road at around 7pm on March 8, 2022, when he reached a signalised cross-junction.

Realising that he was heading in the wrong direction, Ng turned right into the junction towards the Pan-Island Expressway even though the right-turn arrow was red at the time.

His vehicle struck the left side of another van, which moved to the left and hit the rear of a car. Ng’s van veered right and mounted the central divider before hitting a traffic light and a directional sign. The impact damaged the sign, and the traffic light pole became slanted.

The other two drivers had whiplash injuries and sought medical treatment the next day.

The Straits Times

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