photo: streetdirectory.com

A Forklift Truck Operator employed by Cogent Container Depot Pte Ltd (“Cogent”) was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $10,863 for the practice of obtaining bribes from truck drivers at Cogent on Friday (15 February)

In a press release, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) stated that Zhao Yucun was responsible for operating forklifts for the loading and unloading of containers to and from trucks.

Investigations revealed that the 44-year-old had, in the course of his employment with Cogent, obtained bribes of $7 to $10 daily from truck drivers in exchange for not delaying the loading and unloading of containers to and from their trucks.

The bureau said that when Zhao was arrested by the CPIB in March 2018, coins amounting to $2.50 were found on the mudguard of Zhao’s forklift.

According to the bureau, Zhao had embarked on this corrupt practice from 2 September 2013 up to 12 March 2018 and it was estimated he had obtained approximately $10,865.50 in bribes.

As a result, Zhao was charged with the practice of corruptly obtaining gratifications from truck drivers at Cogent, as an inducement to not delay the loading and unloading of containers from trucks, an offence punishable under section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241, which is an amalgamated charge pursuant to section 124(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68.

Earlier this year, a forklift operator employed by the same company was also sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $4,870.50, for embarking on a course of conduct to obtain bribes from truck drivers at Cogent.

According to the bureau, Chen was responsible for operating forklifts for the loading or unloading of containers for truck drivers.

Investigations by the CPIB revealed that in October 2017, a truck driver had confronted Chen after having to wait for a considerably long time in the queue. Chen then informed the driver that it was the norm for truck drivers to pay one dollar, or risk having to wait longer in the queue or be given containers that were in a bad condition.

In March 2018, when Chen was arrested by the CPIB, coins amounting to $2 were found on the mudguard of the forklift operated by Chen, the bureau said.

Subsequent investigations revealed that Chen had in the course of his employment with Cogent, had obtained bribes of $7 to $10 daily from truck drivers so as not to delay the collection or return of containers from or onto the vehicles of these truck drivers.

Chen embarked on this corrupt practice from 1 February 2016 up to 12 March 2018 and it was estimated he had obtained approximately $4,872.50 in bribes.

As a result, he was charged with the practice of corruptly obtaining gratifications from truck drivers at Cogent, as an inducement to not delay the collection or return of containers onto the vehicles of these truck drivers, an offence punishable under section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241, which is an amalgamated charge pursuant to section 124(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68.

The bureau stressed that Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. It is a serious offence to obtain bribes, or attempt to obtain bribes from another individual or entity. Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years or to both.

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