BLUECHIP engineering giant Singapore Technologies Engineering's (ST Engineering) corruption scandal woes are far from over as a fourth former high level executive from its wholly-owned subsidiary Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine) was charged in court on Tuesday.
See Leong Teck, 64, formerly president of ST Marine from December 1997 to February 2008, faces seven counts of conspiring with four former colleagues - Mok Kim Whang, Ong Teck Liam, Patrick Lee Swee Ching and Teh Yew Shyan - to corruptly bribe agents of the ship builder's customers in return for ship repair contracts between 2004 and 2010.
The alleged bribes amount to more than S$556,000 and were made out between May 2004 and December 2007 to employees of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Ltd - Pyo Sei Jin and Seo Tae Kyu - as well as a Myanma Five Star Line staff.
See is the second ex-president of ST Marine to face corruption charges after Chang Cheow Teck, who is accused of giving almost S$274,000 in bribes on three occasions. Chang, formerly ST Marine president from March 2008 to April 2010 and president of ST Aerospace from May 2010 till June this year, was charged in court along with Mok and Ong three weeks ago.
Mok, a senior vice-president (Tuas Yard) from June 2000 to July 2004, faces one count of giving a bribe of more than S$43,700, while Ong, the group financial controller and senior vice-president of finance from April 2007 to December 2012, faces 118 counts of abetting false entries in petty cash vouchers for bogus entertainment expenses worth more than S$521,000.
Of the remaining senior executives implicated, Lee had served as ST Marine's group financial controller from January 2001 to October 2006 before he left to join VT Systems. He retired in October 2012. Mr Teh, who was a senior vice-president at ST Marine from 2004 to 2010, has died.
On Tuesday, See's lawyer Wendell Wong said his client's pre-trial conference has been fixed on Jan 9, together with the other three accused. He said See is out on bail of S$150,000.
The maximum penalty under Section 6(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act is a fine of S$100,000 and a jail term of five years.
ST Engineering, a solutions and services provider in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors, is controlled by Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings. It said in a notice to the Singapore Exchange that See's charges are not expected to have any material impact on the group's net tangible assets or earnings per share for the financial year ending December 2014.
"ST Engineering is committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance and recognises that fraud is detrimental to the reputation of the ST Engineering Group. ST Engineering does not condone fraud, including corruption and bribery, and is fully committed to proactively mitigating the risk of its occurrence," it added.
ST Engineering's shares closed at S$3.40, down one cent.