His was a crime that reflected greed and abuse of influence, and which could potentially tarnish Singapore’s reputation and businesses.
As a former business development director in charge of the South Asia region for a subsidiary of ST Electronics (STE), Mark Edward Tjong had abused his position of influence, said Justice Tay Yong Kwang, in his written grounds of decision released yesterday (April 7).
Last month, Justice Tay had reversed an earlier ruling acquitting Tjong of a corruption charge, and sentenced him to an additional four weeks’ jail and a S$30,000 fine, on top of the eight weeks’ jail and S$57,387.67 fine he had been sentenced to for another corruption charge.
Tjong’s offences took place in 2006. He had recommended Bangladeshi Mujibur Rahman be appointed STE’s agent in Bangladesh and helped him acquire contracts, in exchange for bribes amounting to S$87,387.67. The district court had found Tjong guilty of corruption on one charge involving S$57,386.67, but acquitted him of a second charge involving S$30,000. Tjong appealed against his sentence for the first charge, while the prosecution appealed against the acquittal for the second charge.
In his written grounds, Justice Tay noted that Tjong’s recommendation was accepted by STE’s president unhesitatingly, as he was trusted by STE to manage and promote its interest in Bangladesh.
He also noted that STE is fully owned by Singapore Technologies Engineering, which in turn is 50 per cent-owned by government-owned Temasek Holdings. “STE could easily be viewed as a government-linked or government-owned entity. The harm caused by the offences here therefore included the possible adverse impact on the reputation and integrity of Singapore companies and of Singapore generally,” said Justice Tay, adding that the case also involved “a cross-border commercial element”.
If Tjong does not pay the additional S$30,000 fine, he will have to serve another six weeks in jail.