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Criminal syndicate scams S$40m of fake SkillsFuture claims

A 41-year-old man has been hauled to court over his alleged involvement in Singapore's largest case of a defrauding of a public institution to date involving nearly S$40 million.

The government agency involved is SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) which promotes a culture of lifelong learning.

On Tuesday, Ng Cheng Kwee was charged with three counts of intentionally perverting the course of justice.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting told the court that a criminal syndicate could be involved and Ng is believed to be one of the main perpetrators.

Before this, Ng had been charged with one count of engaging in a conspiracy to commit forgery.

He had also been charged with concealing benefits of criminal conduct - namely S$6.7 million in cash and 11kg of gold worth about S$600,000.

Ng is said to have committed these offences between this April and last month.

Four other people have also been charged over their alleged involvement in the case.

In a statement on Tuesday, SSG said it detected anomalies in claims for training grants at the end of October.

It immediately suspended all payments of grants to nine business entities and reported the matter to the police.

Following this incident, SSG said it has taken immediate actions to tighten its processes, which include implementing fraud analytics, while conducting a comprehensive review of the system.

"SSG takes a serious view of any individual, training provider or organisation that abuses its funding schemes, and will not hesitate to take action against those who contravene its funding rules and guidelines," said the agency.

Ng is now remanded at Central Police Division and will be back in court on Dec 26.

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