Social Service Officer Arrested, Took Funds Meant For Needy

The Police have charged a Social Service Office (SSO) officer, Chia Kwang Hwee, under the Penal Code, Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

On 14 August 2014, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) was alerted by a ComCare beneficiary that he had not received his financial assistance payments. Upon investigation, the Ministry found information suggesting that a SSO officer from the Geylang Serai office could have misappropriated funds meant for financial assistance payments. On 15 August 2014, the Ministry filed a Police report.

The Police investigated the matter with full cooperation from the Ministry. MSF also suspended the officer from his duties from the time the Police report was filed.

Immediately following the incident, the Ministry contacted all affected families to ensure the assistance they needed were not affected by the case.

The Ministry’s internal auditor has conducted checks on all the SSOs’ payment records, and confirmed that there were no other occurrences of a similar nature.

The Ministry has also reviewed and strengthened systems, processes and controls at all the SSOs. As part of this effort, the Ministry had convened an independent review panel comprising senior officials from other government agencies to look into the checks and control mechanisms for financial assistance payments in all the SSOs. The Ministry has implemented the Panel’s recommendations. Examples of the changes made include:

  • Strengthening the administration of access to our IT system;
  • Including additional checks to ensure payments to clients; and
  • Allocating cases such that no officer will be allowed to take charge of a particular client for more than two consecutive years.

MSF does not condone or tolerate any conduct that undermines the integrity of our social assistance system and interest of our beneficiaries, and would not hesitate to take appropriate action against any officer with such conduct.


Source: MSF Singapore

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