SINGAPORE: A former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer who cheated the Government in contracts worth over S$1.8 million was sentenced to jail for more than two years on Friday (Jul 27).
Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, was with the force from 1989 until 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, he held the position of Bay In-Charge of the Fire Control Flight at Tengah Air Base.
His work required him to raise requests for repair or maintenance works at the air base, which independent contractors then tendered for.
After receiving quotations from the contractors, Rajkumar would give his recommendation to his superiors, who would determine which contractor to award the jobs to.
But the air force was unaware that he was involved in four businesses that tendered for RSAF jobs between 2010 and 2014. During that period, he tendered for the jobs himself and recommended that the contracts be awarded to him or his accomplices.
In 2010, he incorporated the company Goodwill Aviations System with his wife Jayashree Rajkumar as the sole director and shareholder.
His wife acted as the front for the company, which submitted quotations for aircraft repair and maintenance works required by the RSAF.
Rajkumar was familiar with what the lowest bidding prices were. Goodwill Aviations System was awarded 99 jobs with a total value of nearly S$869,000 between 2010 and 2012.
The company performed the works and received payment from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
In late 2010, Rajkumar and his friend Jeevan Arumugam set up a company, Eagle Flight Aviation Services, for the same purposes. Between 2011 and 2012, Eagle Flight Aviation Services was awarded 67 jobs worth more than S$632,000.
Rajkumar was also involved in two other companies, Duratech Engineering and Global Trade Well. Duratech Engineering won 27 jobs worth more than S$259,000 while Global Trade Well was awarded 10 jobs with a value of more than S$27,000.
HE LEFT RSAF IN 2012 BUT STILL CONTINUED CHEATING
Rajkumar left the RSAF in July 2012. More than a year later he joined One Marina Property Services, where his job was to source for contractors for works that were requested by the firm on RSAF's behalf.
From 2013 to 2014, Rajkumar helped Eagle Flight Aviation Services win 14 jobs worth about S$29,000.
At the beginning of 2014, Rajkumar became acquainted with RSAF engineer Sung Way Xiong, 29, as they both worked at Sembawang Air Base.
Rajkumar knew that Sung had access to confidential information, including pricing on various items and inventory.
He asked Sung to reveal to him such information and said he would employ him with a good pay package when Sung left the RSAF.
He also said that he would share some of his profits with Sung if business was good. Sung agreed and gave confidential pricing information to Rajkumar on 33 occasions in 2014.
Rajkumar used this information in preparing quotations for RSAF jobs.
Sung later asked Rajkumar for his promised share of the profits, but did not receive any money, nor was he employed by Rajkumar.
DEFENCE SAYS RAJKUMAR WANTED TO 'IMPROVE THINGS'
Rajkumar had pleaded guilty in May to 19 cheating charges, as well as eight charges under the Official Secrets Act and one charge of corruption. Another 223 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
On Friday, his defence lawyer Bernice Leong said that Rajkumar merely wanted to improve what RSAF was being offered by other vendors. She argued that the works were completed and were of satisfactory quality.
But District Judge Edgar Foo did not buy this argument, saying: "It cannot be just to help RSAF. If it was, then it should have been done pro bono."
The judge sentenced Rajkumar to 25 months and six weeks in jail. He allowed Rajkumar to defer his sentence for two weeks to tend to his elderly mother who was ill.
Rajkumar's accomplice Sung was given 10 weeks' jail in May, while Jeevan's trial will be held next month.
MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces said in a statement in May that they detected irregularities during periodic internal audits in July 2015 and surfaced the case to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau for investigation.
"MINDEF (and) SAF have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption. All servicemen, regardless of their position or seniority, are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and conduct," said the statement.