Custodial Sentence and Penalties for Committing Corruption Overseas
Singaporeans overseas are expected to comply with both the Prevention of Corruption Act, which has an extra-territorial effect, as well as the laws of the countries where they are operating.
2. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigated two siblings Teo Chu Ha Henry (“Henry”) and Teo Suya Bik Judy (“Judy”) for suspected corruption offences that had taken place in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These offences were investigated under Section 37 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (which states that Singapore Citizens who committed corrupt acts overseas will be prosecuted as if they have committed the acts in Singapore). Henry, a former Senior Director of Logistics at Seagate Technology International (“Seagate”), had been previously convicted in another case for receiving kickbacks from a vendor in Singapore.
3. The subsequent court proceedings for this case concluded with Henry and Judy being found guilty, after a trial, of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. They were sentenced on 11 January 2021 as follows:
a) Teo Suya Bik Judy, 68-year-old Singaporean female, was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment and a penalty of S$2,320,864.10.
b) Teo Chu Ha Henry, 72-year-old Singaporean male, was sentenced to 50 months’ imprisonment.
4. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years or to both. The additional penalties for corruption offences are pursuant to section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, whereby the Court shall order those convicted of accepting gratification in contravention of any provision under the Prevention of Corruption Act to pay a penalty. This significantly enhances the total financial penalties for corrupt offenders as the Courts would be able to recover the value of the gratification received.
5. Evidence presented at the trial revealed that Seagate had called for open tenders to source for companies to provide long haul trucking services in the PRC in 2006 and 2009. Being a Senior Director of Logistics in Seagate and a member of the tender committee, Henry had access to Seagate’s confidential information and conspired to share the confidential information with Judy who was not a Seagate employee. Judy then passed the information directly to two Chinese trucking companies, an entity said to be called Feili International Transport Co. Ltd (“Feili”) and Shanghai Long-Distance Transportation Co. (“SLT”) in order to help them secure contracts with Seagate. In return, both Feili and SLT would pay Judy a sum amounting to 10% on all invoices billed to Seagate under the contracts. Feili and SLT eventually secured contracts with Seagate in two open tenders in 2006 and 2009, and they paid these gratifications, termed as “commissions”, to Judy accordingly. Between 2007 to 2010, Judy had corruptly received a total of around CNY 11.3 million in gratifications from Feili and SLT. These actions constituted offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
6. Furthermore, Judy then conspired with Henry to withdraw part of the corrupt gratifications she received to purchase a condominium unit in Singapore. Between 2009 to 2010, Henry used Judy’s ATM card to make numerous cash withdrawals of these corrupt gratifications in Singapore. These withdrawals, which amounted to S$703,480 were then deposited into Henry’s personal bank accounts. Subsequently in 2012, Henry purchased a condominium unit (at a purchase price of S$1.12 million) in Judy’s name. Henry’s act of depositing the monies he withdrew from Judy’s Bank of China account, into his personal accounts, facilitated the control of Judy’s benefits of criminal conduct. Their actions constituted an offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
7. As part of a protracted investigation into the offences committed overseas, the CPIB had worked closely with the Chinese authorities such as the Shanghai City Zhabei District People’s Procuratorate (上海市闸北区人民检察院) and received invaluable assistance from them in the form of critical evidentiary records such as bank statements, and assistance in interviews and statement-taking under the mutual legal assistance framework spanning over a few years.
8. The CPIB takes a serious view against corruption including those committed overseas. Any persons involved in such offences will be firmly dealt with under the law. The CPIB will also work with the authorities to disgorge any corrupt proceeds from the corrupt acts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau