December 29, 2017 / 6:32 AM / a year ago

Current, former Singapore transit employees charged in cheating scheme

FILE PHOTO: An SMRT train leaves a station in Singapore July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Current and former employees of Singapore transit operator SMRT were charged in court on Friday with duping the company into awarding millions of dollars of contracts to companies in which they had a financial interest.

The charges come after a string of mishaps on the transit system - including a collision last month that injured several people - which has led to public anger in a city-state long known for its efficient public services.

A current line manager at SMRT Trains Ltd, two former employees and a director of a Singapore construction company were charged with “cheating offences” that allegedly took place between 2007 and 2012 and involved contracts amounting to nearly S$9.8 million (5.4 million pounds), Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement.

Under Singapore law, such offences are punishable by up to 10 years in jail and fines.

One of the accused absconded to Malaysia in 2013 and was brought back to face charges in Singapore with the help of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, CPIB said.

SMRT Trains Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of SMRT Corp Ltd. SMRT Corp is fully controlled by state investor Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd [TEM.UL].

“SMRT referred this case to CPIB in 2012 for their investigation. This followed immediately after internal investigations by the company to find out the nature and extent of suspected wrongdoing,” Margaret Teo, head of corporate marketing and communications for SMRT Corp, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We note the charges filed by CPIB today and await the outcome of the proceedings,” Teo said.

($1 = 1.3362 Singapore dollars)

Reporting by John Geddie and Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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