PRESS RELEASE BY CPIB Paying A Heavy Price For Corruption
Corruption in the aviation industry can lead to serious and far reaching consequences. For instance, bribes to under-report the weight of flight baggage could lead to overloading and compromise flight safety.
2 Previously on 10 April 2019, four Customer Service Associates (CSAs) were charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting bribes in exchange for under-reporting the weight of passengers’ baggage in the flight check-in computer system. Three of them were convicted and sentenced as follows:
a) Gerizim Kirubai Raj Deved (“Gerizim”), a 37-year-old male Singaporean, was a customer service associate in the employment of SATS Asia-Pacific Star Pte Ltd (“SATS APS”) at the material time. On 26 April 2019, he was sentenced to 7 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $630 for corruption. It was revealed that Gerizim had come to an agreement with one Gajendren Ramesh (“Ramesh”) sometime in January 2018 to under-report Ramesh’s baggage weight in the check-in computer system whenever Ramesh checked in for a flight so that he did not have to pay the excess baggage fees. Between January and July 2018, Gerizim accepted a total of at least $630 from Ramesh as a reward for under-reporting Ramesh’s baggage weight in the check-in computer system.
b) Ayyadurai Karunanithi (“Ayyadurai“), a 49-year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident, was a customer service associate in the employment of UBTS Pte Ltd at the material time. On 26 April 2019, he was sentenced to 9 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $500 for corruption. Sometime in April 2018, Ayyadurai had been approached by one Saravanan Muthuraja (“Muthuraja”) who proposed that he could pay Ayyadurai to ‘waive’ excess baggage fees for his friends. Between April and May 2018, Ayyadurai accepted a total of at least $500 from Muthuraja as a reward for under-reporting the baggage weight of the passengers whom Muthuraja brought to his counter, in the check-in computer system.
c) Patel Hiteshkumar Chandubhai (“Patel”), a 39-year-old Indian National, was a customer service associate in the employment of UBTS Pte Ltd at the material time. On 29 April 2019, he was sentenced to 8 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $800 for corruption. Sometime in January 2016, Patel was approached by one Gopal Krishna Raju (“Gopal”) who offered him money and meals to help avoid excess baggage fees for passengers carrying gold for Gopal, to which Patel agreed. Between January and October 2016, Gopal gave Patel money amounting to at least $800, as a reward for under-reporting the baggage weight of the passengers whom Gopal brought to his counter, in the check-in computer system.
3 In relation to the offence committed by Patel, Gopal Krishna Raju, a 38-year-old Indian National, was also charged with corruptly giving gratification amounting to at least $800 to Patel as a reward for under-reporting the weight of passengers’ baggage in the flight check-in computer system. Gopal Krishna Raju was sentenced to 8 weeks’ imprisonment on 23 September 2019.
4 On 1 March 2021, the fourth CSA, Mohammad Haris Bin Mohammad Ali (“Haris”), a 25-year-old male Singaporean, was sentenced to 2 weeks' imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $66 for corruption. At the material time, he was employed by SATS APS. Haris’ duties as a CSA involved weighing passengers’ baggage and keying in the baggage’s weight into the check-in computer system. If the baggage’s weight exceeded the passenger’s baggage allowance, he was to advise the passenger to either repack so as to reduce the baggage weight or make payment for the excess baggage weight before the baggage could be checked in for the flight. Between April and May 2018, Haris accepted a total of at least six packets of cigarettes worth a total of at least $66 from one Ahmad, as a reward for helping the passengers (whom Ahmad brought to him) to under-report their baggage weight in the check-in computer system.
5 Corrupt practices of such nature will tarnish the reputation of Singapore’s Changi Airport, and more importantly, undermine air travel safety. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and corrupt offenders will have to bear the full brunt of the law. 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.
6 The CPIB looks into all corruption complaints and reports, including anonymous ones, and can be reached via the following channels:
a) Lodge an e-Complaint at www.cpib.gov.sg/e-complaint;
b) Email us at report [at] cpib.gov.sg;
c) Call the Duty Officer at 1800-376-0000; or
d) Write to us at the CPIB Headquarters @ 2 Lengkok Bahru, S159047 or Corruption Reporting & Heritage Centre @ 247 Whitley Road S297830.
7 Where possible, the report should include the following information:
a) Where, when and how the alleged corrupt act happened?
b) Who was involved and what were their roles?
c) What was the bribe given and the favour shown?