PUB officer faces 700 charges of cheating after tricking colleagues

The officer is accused of tricking colleagues into approving contracts originating from his own businesses

An officer at Singapore’s national water agency PUB has been charged with over 700 counts of cheating and nine counts of money laundering after allegedly tricking a number of PUB employees into approving quotations for contracts that were from businesses he controlled.

Mohamed Sa'ad Mohamed Ali, 42, is accused of dishonestly inducing other PUB employees to approve quotations for purchase orders worth a total of SG$1.98m, which they believed were sourced from the open market but in fact were from Ali’s own businesses.

The alleged offences, which took place between 2009 and 2012, were discovered after an internal audit in 2012, PUB said in a statement.

The audit brought to light a number of anomalies in the small value purchases of mechanical equipment and general maintenance work at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks.

The PUB then reported the findings to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in August that year and Ali was suspended without pay.

PUB chief executive Ng Joo Hee said in a statement that the agency does not tolerate dishonest and fraudulent behaviour by any of its staff or contractors, Straits Times reported.

The PUB has "drastically reduced" the number of small value purchases – by 96 per cent – and the remaining purchases are now administered centrally by officers who have no involvement in the operational duties, Hee added.

Ali, who joined the PUB in 2000 and had been supervising the mechanical maintenance work at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks since 2004, has been released on SG$80,000 bail and has had his passport impounded.

Under the revised Penal Code, Ali could receive a maximum punishment of 10 years’ jail time and a fine for cheating charges, and a maximum of 10 years’ jail time and a fine of of up to SG$500,000 for money laundering charges.

A pre-trial conference has been set for 18 August.

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