Former NTUC chairman and former People’s Action Party MP Phey Yew Kok, 81, has been sentenced to 60 months or 5 years of imprisonment on Friday after pleading guilty to 12 charges against him.
The charges against Phey include committing ten counts of criminal breach of trust amounting to S$243,877.60, one count of abetting the fabrication of false evidence to a public servant and one count of failing to attend court when ordered to by a judicial officer.
Another 22 charges were taken into consideration in sentencing him which Phey consented to.
Phey joined the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) as an industrial relations officer in 1964, and was appointed NTUC president just six years later, at the age of 35. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Boon Teck constituency in 1972 under the PAP’s banner and held the position for eight years till 1980.
Phey was first charged in December 1979 with four counts of criminal breach of trust involving more than S$80,000, and other offences under the Trades Union Act involving more than S$17,500.
After being first charged in December 1979, he was expected to return to court on Jan 7, 1980. But on New Year’s Eve, he took a train to Kuala Lumpur and went to Bangkok where he is presumed to have spent the last 30 over years in. By jumping bail, Phey caused his two bailors to forfeit $95,000 of the $100,000 they put up for him.
Earlier on the 22nd of June 2015, Phey surrendered himself to the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok after running away from his charges for 30 over years. He was then accompanied back to Singapore by CPIB officers on the 23rd of June 2015.
A month later after his surrender, Phey was slapped with another 28 charges, mostly involving more criminal breach of trust offences he had allegedly committed between April 1973 and June 1979 which amount to more than $450,000, almost five times the $100,000 in union funds he was originally charged with misappropriating in 1979.
The fresh charges involved criminal breach of trust, abetting the fabrication of evidence, abetting the provision of false information to a public servant, and misappropriating more than $200,000 in supermarket goods. He had allegedly took money from the International Metalworkers Federation and Boon Teck Education Centre belonging to the PAP, and his new charges included one of absconding while on bail.
He is also accused of dipping into the staff funds of the Singapore Industrial Labour Organisation (SILO), and the Pioneer Industries Employees Union (PIEU). Phey had served as General Secretary in both SILO and PIEU
The 60 months jail term will be backdated to June 23, 2015, the date of his remand, meaning he would be released in 2020 or earlier if Phey shows good conduct during his imprisonment.
For criminal breach of trust, the maximum sentence for a convicted offence carries a penalty of up to 7 years of imprisonment or fine or both.
PAP’s Secretary-General and Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has earlier said on his Facebook about Phey’s arrest, “We have maintained a clean and non-corrupt system in Singapore for half a century because we have zero tolerance for corruption. When we discover wrongdoing, we do not hesitate to act. We will not allow any cover up, even when it is awkward or embarrassing for the Government.