betty July 5, 2022

SINGAPORE – A surveyor, tasked to conduct checks on vessels, accepted a US$10,000 (S$14,196) bribe from an employee of oil giant Shell in exchange for turning a blind eye to the misappropriation of gas oil at its Pulau Bukom facility.

Rizal Zulkeflee, 38, was on Tuesday (July 5) sentenced to eight weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to a graft charge.

He was also ordered to pay a penalty of $14,196 – the amount of bribe taken.

The court heard that in or around January 2017, Rizal accepted the money from Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 41, whose case is still pending.

Rizal was among 12 surveyors who were charged in April after they allegedly accepted bribes from then Shell employees including Muzaffar and Juandi Pungot, 45.

Some of them, including Muhammad Khairul Asri Mohamad Hanafiah, 38; Anand Omprekas, 39; Paramanandham Srinivasan, 39; and Noruliman Bakti, 40, had earlier pleaded guilty to corruption.

They were each sentenced to between four weeks and eight months in jail.

On March 31, Juandi was jailed for 29 years for his role in masterminding the misappropriation of more than 200,000 tonnes of gas oil worth $128 million.

This is one of the longest prison sentences for a commercial crime.

At the time of the offences, Rizal was working for SGS Testing & Control Services Singapore, a firm that offered surveying services. Court documents did not state if he is still working at the company.

Surveyors like Rizal would check the quantity of the cargo, including gas oil, loaded into vessels. After conducting their inspections, surveyors must prepare reports to state the amount of cargo loaded.