Operations officer at halfway house for drug abusers made resident give him $200 a month

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Jan 13, 2023

An operations officer at a halfway house run by non-governmental organisation Jamiyah Singapore exploited his authority over two residents there and obtained $1,850 in bribes from them.

As part of his job, Ismadi Ishak was entrusted with the safety and discipline of residents at Jamiyah Halfway House, and was also empowered to mete out penalties if they breached its regulations.

Ismadi, 53, who is no longer working at the facility, could also recommend follow-up actions such as recall to prisons, where needed.

He was facing financial difficulties when he asked the two men for cash. The pair complied, as they were afraid of what he might do to them if they rejected his requests.

Ismadi was sentenced to 16 weeks’ jail on Friday after he pleaded guilty to four graft charges involving $950.

Five other similar charges involving the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

Ismadi, who committed the offences from April 2020 to March 2021, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $1,850 – the amount in bribes obtained from the pair.

The two men have since been given stern warnings over their roles in Ismadi’s offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said that the halfway house, which is also known as Darul Islah, is located in Pasir Panjang Road.

It serves as a centre for the rehabilitation of drug abusers before they are released and reintegrated into society. 

Ismadi asked the first resident for cash in April 2020.

The resident, who feared that Ismadi would create trouble for him if he failed to obey, handed him $50 in cash.

Ismadi also approached the second resident and asked the latter to hand him some money every month.

The man then agreed to give Ismadi about $200 monthly.

Court documents did not disclose how Ismadi’s offences came to light, but he was charged in court in 2022.

On Friday, DPP Tan urged the court to sentence Ismadi to 19 weeks’ jail, adding: “A resounding message ought to be sent to the public that such offences will not be tolerated, and that persons with power over inmates will not misuse it for personal gain – otherwise, the confidence of the public in the administration of halfway houses would be threatened.”

Ismadi’s bail has been set at $5,000, and he was told to surrender himself at the State Courts on Jan 16 to begin serving his jail sentence.

The Straits Times

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