An Indian national has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for allegedly making illegal payments of over SGD 5.1 million from a construction company where he worked to firms linked to him.
Hussain Naina Mohamed (47) on Thursday pleaded guilty to nine counts of cheating involving more than SGD 2.5 million and one count of moving a portion of his ill-gotten gains out of Singapore.
Sixteen other charges, including those involving the remaining amount, were considered during sentencing, The Straits Times reported.
He later told investigators that he had sent the money to India to help cover his parents’ household expenses.
Mohamed admitted that he had set up the firm solely to earn some cash from Utracon Corp. He was also the only one making all business decisions for Aret while his sister was the “face” of the firm, said the prosecution.
This was because he knew that he could not be seen by Utracon to be involved in Al Rahman Enterprises & Trading (Aret) in which he was a partner.
The illegal payments took place between 2009 and 2019, causing at least SGD 5,00,000 in losses to Utracon, according to the Singapore daily report.
Mohamed worked for the construction firm Utracon Structural Systems, which is part of the Utracon Corporation, until January 2019.
As an assistant shipping manager, his responsibilities included making vendor recommendations to his superiors. He also helped Utracon Overseas, which is also part of the Utracon Corporation, with similar tasks.
Among other things, Mohamed failed to inform his employer that he was a partner at Aret. Instead, he recommended Aret to be his employer’s vendor for marine insurance as well as freight-forwarding services.
Mohamed also recommended to his superiors his father’s firm, SM Enterprises (SME), as a vendor to supply plastic components.
The prosecution said Utracon would not have awarded jobs to these firms had it known about the blatant conflict of interest with regard to Mohamed.
As the companies linked to Mohamed did provide services to Utracon as its vendors, Utracon’s financial loss amounted to at least SGD 5,00,000 as a result of the cheating. This loss included the illicit profit Hussain made from the offences.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi said the accused and his sister were partners at Aret, which was registered in June 2009 and provided marine insurance as well as freight-forwarding services.
As a result of his dishonest concealment, Utracon was induced to award jobs to Aret and paid it more than SGD 7,05,000.
In May 2011, Hussain approached Utracon’s director of Singapore operations and offered to source for an alternative supplier of plastic components that would purportedly offer better rates than its supplier at that time.
He then liaised with an Indian company called Vijay Industries to fabricate the plastic parts that Utracon required, and arranged for his father’s firm, the India-registered Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), to export these plastic parts to Utracon.
Mohamed did not tell the director that the SME belonged to his father and that the plastic components were actually manufactured by Vijay Industries, with SME only marking up the prices.
As a result of his dishonest concealment of facts, Utracon was induced to award jobs to SME and paid it more than SGD 1.4 million.
Mohamed also worked with a director of a firm called Indus Global Line (IGL) to cheat Utracon.
In 2011, the pair entered into an illicit agreement for IGL to submit inflated quotations to Utracon for freight-forwarding services, with Mohamed determining the quantum of each mark-up, the media report said.
Mohamed then validated all the inflated quotations before submitting them for Utracon’s approval. As a result, Utracon paid IGL nearly SGD 3,75,000.
On six occasions between May 2014 and November 2017, Mohamed removed from Singapore nearly SGD 1,42,000 of his ill-gotten gains by methods that included engaging the services of local remittance agents.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)