Ex-RSAF engineer admits to corruption, cheating involving over $1.8M in government contracts

11-May-2018 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) engineer who hid the fact that he owned the very company that he recommended to the RSAF for repair works pleaded guilty to 28 counts of corruption, cheating and breaching the Official Secrets Act (OSA) at the State Courts on Wednesday (9 May).

Rajkumar Padmanathan, 49, had been slapped with 251 charges in July last year for offences, of which the majority involved over $1.8 million in government contracts.

A co-accused and former RSAF engineer, Sung Way Xiong, 29, also pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one corruption charge and eight offences involving the (OSA). He was jailed 10 weeks while Rajkumar will be sentenced on 27 June.

Rajkumar first joined RSAF in 1989 as an engineer and was tasked with repairing and maintaining the F-16 aircraft at Tengah Air Base. His job also entailed raising requests for works, which required tenders from independent contractors.

Rajkumar would indicate a recommended contractor and his superiors would then authenticate the request. After the contractor completed the works, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) would then pay the contractor.

From October 2010 to December 2014, Rajkumar concealed his ownership of aircraft repair and maintenance company Goodwill Aviations System (GAS), which he had recommended to the RSAF as a contractor. This led to some $869,000 being spent by the Mindef on GAS’ services.

He also asked a friend, Jeevan Arumugam, to register another company and use it to bid for RSAF tenders. Jeevan helmed the company and Rajkumar intended to join Jeevan after he left RSAF.

With this goal in mind, Eagle Flight Aviation Services (EFAS) was incorporated with Jeevan as the director and shareholder to conceal Rajkumar’s involvement. Between April 2011 and June 2012, EFAS was awarded 67 jobs worth $632,528.

Rajkumar also convinced a military cable fabrication firm, Duratech, to submit quotations for RSAF repair and maintenance works and then subcontract the jobs to GAS and EFAS. Duratech’s director was told by Rajkumar that he could earn a margin of $1,000 to $1,500 for each of the works completed.

In total, Duratech was awarded 27 jobs with a total value of $259,261.

Rajkumar met Sung in 2014, after leaving the RSAF. Sung was an RSAF engineer who had access to Enterprise System, through which Sung provided Rajkumar with confidential pricing information.

Rajkumar had also told Sung that his company would hire the latter offering a good pay package and profit sharing if business went well.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mindef emphasized its “zero tolerance police towards corruption”, noting that it was a “robust” procurement process that “incorporates a comprehensive set of internal and external audits”.

In Rajkumar’s case, it was during a periodic internal audit in July 2015 that irregularities were detected and immediately surfaced to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau for investigation, the statement said.

“All servicemen, regardless of their position or seniority, are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and conduct,” said the ministry.



Category: Singapore

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