On Thursday (10 October), an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) customer service officer was charged for taking bribes from a 24-year-old Malaysian woman who is applying to be a Singapore permanent resident (PR).
In a joint statement by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and the police, it is revealed that 49-year-old officer, Lucy Teo, was charged with two counts of engaging in a conspiracy with another Singaporean woman, Sharon Loo Wai Woon, 28, to get S$1,500 from Malaysian national Fenny Tey Hui Nee.
The sum was given as an inducement to speed up Tey’s PR application.
Additionally, Teo also faces another 20 counts of unauthorised access into ICA’s Central Identification and Registration Information System in order to recover the Malaysian national’s PR application status on 11 occasions, as well as another woman’s PR application status records six times and another man’s passport number details on three occasions.
The joint media release stated that public officers “are entrusted with the custody and maintenance of government systems and data”.
It added, “They are expected to uphold the law and maintain the highest standard of conduct and integrity. The police will deal severely with public officers who mishandle any government systems and the data therein, including charging them in court.”
If Teo is found guilty of knowingly causing a computer to perform a function for the intention of securing unauthorised access to any program or data held in any computer, she can be placed behind bars for up to two years and/or fined up to S$5,000.
ICA revealed in another statement that it found out about Teo’s wrongdoings after detecting it via internal checks and investigations, and immediately reported the officer to the police.
The authority added that Teo’s job scope did not involve the processing of applications for permanent residence, given that she is just a customer service officer. “She was handling public inquiries on NRIC matters,” said ICA.
Besides the ICA officer, Loo was also charged with two counts of being involved in a conspiracy with Teo to get money from Tey so her PR application can be expedited. On the other hand, Tey was slammed with two counts of bribing Teo that totalled to S$1,500.
The trio were given four weeks’ adjournment to hire lawyers for their cases or apply to the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme to be given one. The three of them will return to court on 7 November.
If they are convicted of a corruption charge, they can be fined up to S$100,000 and/or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years.