SINGAPORE — An employee of a fish supplier company, Ngow Chun Siong, was sentenced to seven months in jail for bribing a senior team leader at NTUC FairPrice in an effort to increase fish sales from their business.

Ngow, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery on February 13 and was also fined $4,000 and banned from driving for 30 months for an unrelated charge of drink driving. A third charge was taken into consideration.

Ngow, a Malaysian national, worked for Fish Vision Agro-tech and was responsible for overseeing the company’s market stall at Jurong Fishery Port. He received a commission of 3-5 cents per kilogram of fish sold, which accounted for 30-50 per cent of his base pay.

His co-accused, Lim Kian Kok, 48, worked as a senior team leader at NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, a consumer co-op and the largest supermarket chain in Singapore.

“It is a social enterprise with the mission to moderate the cost of living in Singapore by providing affordable groceries to all,” said the prosecutor.

Lim was responsible for buying fresh fish and seafood from suppliers based on the requirements of each NTUC FairPrice outlet. He had the discretion to decide which supplier to purchase from and the quantities to be bought, including “spot-buying” when suppliers had an oversupply of goods.

In February 2020, Ngow approached Lim and asked if he could purchase more fish from Fish Vision.

Lim asked what he would receive in return and implied that he would buy more fish if Ngow gave him money.

Ngow then discussed the matter with his boss, Chew Kim Hwee, and they agreed to offer Lim 20 cents per kilogram of fish bought from Fish Vision.

The bribes were disguised as “labour charges for the packing of fish” in Ngow’s daily profit and loss reports and were approved by Chew and processed by Fish Vision’s administrative manager.

Ngow handed Lim eight cash payments, totalling nearly $25,000, in exchange for buying 200-400 kg more fish per day from Fish Vision.

Ngow’s lawyer argued that he was only driven by commissions and that the method of disguising the bribes came from his boss, the director.

The cases for Lim and Chew are still pending.

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