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Insurance agent, 2 others jailed, fined for bribing Indonesian embassy official over performance bonds for maids

SINGAPORE — Three Singaporeans were fined and jailed between one month and 17 months each on Monday (Aug 23) for bribery offences in relation to performance bonds linked to the hiring of Indonesian domestic workers here.

Abdul Aziz Mohamed Hanib (left) and Benjamin Chow Tuck Keong at the State Courts on Nov 21, 2018.

Abdul Aziz Mohamed Hanib (left) and Benjamin Chow Tuck Keong at the State Courts on Nov 21, 2018.

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  • The scheme involved bribing an Indonesian embassy official in return for accreditation to sell performance bonds
  • James Yeo Siew Liang, an insurance agent, received S$125,000 in commissions for selling these bonds
  • He gave a share of these commissions to the official and to other men who helped arrange the scheme

 

SINGAPORE — Three Singaporeans were fined and jailed between one month and 17 months each on Monday (Aug 23) for bribery offences in relation to performance bonds linked to the hiring of Indonesian domestic workers here.

The scheme had involved bribing an Indonesian embassy official in return for accreditation to sell these bonds. 

Prosecutors had argued that the sale of such bonds was a potentially lucrative business for insurers, given that more than 120,000 Indonesian maids are employed in Singapore. 

The trio had been found guilty in April after a trial.

They are:

  • James Yeo Siew Liang, 50, an insurance agent who worked for AIG Asia Pacific Insurance and Liberty Insurance. He was given 15 months’ jail and fined S$21,363.30

  • Abdul Aziz Mohamed Hanib, 66, a freelance translator. He was jailed for 17 months and handed a S$18,299.82 fine

  • Benjamin Chow Tuck Keong, 57, a corporate development director. He was sentenced to one month’s jail and fined S$4,574.96

 

ABOUT THE CASE

In February 2018, the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore introduced a scheme requiring all employers here who hire Indonesian maids to buy a performance bond to ensure they follow the terms of an employment contract issued by the embassy.

Employers had to pay a S$70 premium for a bond guarantee from insurers approved by the embassy. They would only have to pay the full sum of the bond, S$6,000, if they breached the terms of the contract.

Agents of accredited insurers received 45 per cent of the premium for each bond.

Yeo, the insurance agent, was found guilty of 18 corruption charges. These were for handing over S$71,200 to the Indonesian Embassy’s labour attache, Mr Agus Ramdhany Machjumi, as a reward for giving AIG and Liberty Insurance the accreditation to sell the bonds.

Abdul Aziz was similarly convicted of 18 corruption charges in relation to the scheme. The translator received S$21,400 from Yeo for arranging for Mr Agus to show favour to the two insurers.

Abdul Aziz was convicted of another charge of attempting to seek bribes for Mr Agus in March 2018 from two individuals representing Tokio Marine Insurance Singapore so that the insurer would be accredited as a provider of the performance bond. 

That offer was not taken up.

Chow, who helped introduce Yeo to Abdul Aziz, was meanwhile found guilty of one charge of abetting Abdul Aziz to solicit gratification.

Between February and June 2018, the two insurers issued more than 5,700 performance bonds. Yeo then gave a share of his commissions, totalling around S$125,000, to Mr Agus, Abdul Aziz, Chow and another man who was involved in the scheme.

For each corruption charge, they could have been fined up to S$100,000 and jailed up to five years.

In a statement on Monday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) stressed that Singapore takes a “zero-tolerance approach” towards corruption, adding that it looks into all corruption complaints and reports, including those lodged anonymously.

“The Indonesian authorities have been in touch with CPIB about this case,” the bureau added.

Related topics

bribe domestic worker Indoanesia performance BOND court crime

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