betty July 15, 2022

SINGAPORE – A surveyor accepted bribes totalling US$10,000 (S$13,737.50) from a loading master at oil giant Shell in exchange for keeping quiet about the misappropriation of fuel at its Pulau Bukom facility, one of the company’s most important production sites in the world.

As a result of Erwin Suhardi Jamaluddin’s help, one incident of Shell gas oil misappropriation worth nearly US$1.2 million went undetected in 2017.

Erwin, 38, who was then working for Intertek Testing Services, was on Friday (July 15) jailed for four months and two weeks after he pleaded guilty to a graft charge involving US$5,000. A second graft charge involving the remaining amount was considered during sentencing.

He was also ordered to pay a penalty of $13,737.50, which is the amount of bribes taken. He will spend an additional three weeks behind bars if he is unable to pay it. Court documents did not state whether he was still working at Intertek.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew said that Erwin had accepted the bribes from Richard Goh Chee Keong, 52, whose job scope included facilitating the transfer of Shell’s petroleum products at Pulau Bukom to vessels.

The DPP added that Goh was one of the masterminds behind the conspiracy to misappropriate gas oil from Shell. His case is still pending.

On March 31, another mastermind, Juandi Pungot, 45, was jailed for 29 years for his role in the misappropriation of more than 200,000 tonnes of gas oil worth $128 million.

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

Several other men linked to the case, including Muhammad Khairul Asri Mohamad Hanafiah, 38; Rizal Zulkeflee, 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.

As a surveyor, Erwin was tasked to perform jobs among which was checking the quantity of cargo, including fuel such as gas oil, supplied to vessels.

The court heard that Goh met Erwin some time between April and May 2017 to offer him cash in exchange for his silence about the gas oil misappropriation.

DPP Yew said: “The accused agreed to this and completed his inspection without ensuring that an accurate report of the amount of cargo loaded onto the vessel was made, despite knowing that misappropriated gas oil was loaded onto the vessel.

“The accused also turned a blind eye to and kept quiet about any misappropriation of Shell gas oil.”