Singapore Police Force (SPF) announced that it has arrested 17 men, aged between 30 and 63, for their suspected involvement in misappropriating fuel from Shell Bukom.
Following a report lodged by Shell Singapore in August 2017, the Police stated that it conducted extensive investigations and probes.
In an operation mounted on 7 January 2018, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Intelligence Department and Police Coast Guard conducted simultaneous raids islandwide, resulting in the arrests.
During the operation, case exhibits including cash amounting to approximately S$3.05 million and a tanker weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes were seized for investigations. The Police also initiated the freezing of the suspects’ bank accounts to prevent dissipation of suspected criminal proceeds.
In a media statement, the company stated that it is fully cooperating with the Singapore Police Force as it investigates suspected product theft from the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing site, noting that Shell reported a suspected theft to the authorities after it became aware that it may have been the victim of a crime.
It stated that the arrests made by authorities include a limited number of Shell employees.
"All Shell employees are expected to comply with our Code of Conduct and to uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour. Breaches are not tolerated and carry serious consequences, up to and including dismissal," the company stressed.
Shell then added that it will not comment further on the ongoing investigation.
"Our priority remains the safe operations of our site and care for employees and customers. We anticipate a short delay in the supply operations at Bukom, but at this point we expect to continue to meet our contractual supply obligations to customers," it ended.
11 of the suspects were charged on Tuesday (9 January) over their alleged involvement in stealing fuel from Shell's Pulau Bukom refinery.
The two Vietnamese men, Dang Van Hanh, 37, and Nguyen Duc Quang, 46, were charged for allegedly receiving the 1,260 metric tonnes of stolen fuel worth S$687,960 on Jan 7.
While the nine Singaporeans are:
- Abdul Latif Ibrahim, 59, Mohd Ibrahim K Abdul Majid, 52, and Richard Goh Chee Keong, 48, each face one count of criminal breach of trust for stealing fuel worth more than S$430,000 on 5 January.
- Juandi Pungot, 41, Cai Zhi Zhong, 34, Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 36, Koh Choon Wei, 35, and Tiah Kok Hwee, 41, who face two counts each for siphoning fuel on 21 November and 7 January with a combined worth of nearly S$2 million.
- Muhammad Ali Muhammad Nor, 51, was allegedly only involved in the 7 January heist.
Eight of the nine charged, are current or former Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd employees.
According to Court documents, 1,260 metric tonnes of fuel were transferred from Pulau Bukom to a Panama-registered tanker named Prime South. The tanker was due to head to Vietnam, according to vessel monitoring sites Vessel Finder and Marine Traffic.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew told the Court that an investigation is ongoing and that the 11 may face more charges.
The Shell employees will next be in court on 15 January, while the Vietnamese nationals will appear on 16 January.
The punishment for criminal breach of trust is up to 15 years’ jail and a fine.
Six more men arrested in the raid have not yet been charged.