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SINGAPORE: Two former Keppel FELS employees were fined on Friday (Feb 17) for accepting bribes from a supplier in the form of overseas trips with their wives.

Former senior sub-contract manager at Keppel FELS Tan Seng Cheh, 64, was fined S$85,000 and given a penalty of S$3,672.35. He paid the total sum in full.

Tan pleaded guilty to one count of accepting a bribe, with another three charges taken into consideration.

Ex-senior general manager of group procurement at Keppel FELS Wong Kok Seng, 72, was fined S$15,000 after pleading guilty to one count of taking bribes.

The court heard that both men accepted bribes in the form of overseas trips from co-accused Thong Chee Kong, 52. 

Thong was regional manager of Corus South East Asia, a major supplier for Keppel FELS in the steel trading industry.

Steel trading is a unique industry in Singapore, which does not have its own steel mills. 

Keppel FELS, a shipbuilding company and a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation’s offshore and marine arm, had to get its steel supply from trading companies such as Corus.

Corus would obtain steel from its own suppliers, and both Thong and Tan found it important to maintain a good working relationship.

To maintain the relationship, Thong arranged and paid for Tan’s expenses for three overseas trips worth about S$53,700.

One of the trips was to Japan in 2008. Tan went on a holiday with his wife and two sons, with Thong paying for Tan’s expenses using funds from Corus.

Tan contravened Keppel FELS’ policy on business travel, code of business conduct and employee code of conduct and did not declare the trip to his company.

In 2006, Thong invited the other Keppel FELS employee, Wong, for a trip to China.

Wong accepted the invitation so that his company would benefit from the networking. He took his wife on the trip as well, and Thong paid for their expenses worth S$5,850.

The case went cold for more than a decade after Thong absconded. He returned to Singapore in March 2022 and the three men were charged.

Wong has voluntarily surrendered S$5,850 to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, while Tan surrendered S$50,000.

Thong’s case is pending.