A 43-year-old Malaysian man pleaded guilty to corruption charges on Wednesday, April 4 and was sentenced to four months of imprisonment for failing to attend the court hearing in 2001.
The accused, Chandraprakasan T.M.S. Shanmugham had been on run for more than 17 years. The Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said the man had six pending charges against him since 2001 and in the same year on January 22 a pre-trial conference was scheduled. Instead of appearing in the court hearing, the accused escaped from Singapore and was hiding somewhere in Malaysia.
The DPP said that he had no intention to return to the country. However, an arrest warrant was issued against Chandraprakasan and the culprit was arrested on March 22, 2018, in Penang. On the same day, he was taken to the court hearing.
DPP Vaswani also told the court that the accused's intentional escape from the country not only delayed the sentencing but also put the judicial process to the test. Chandraprakasan can face a jail term of six months, including a fine $1,000 for his intentional absence during the court hearing.
Singapore, which has been ranked sixth in the list of Transparency International's (TI) Corruptions Perceptions Index 2017, is considered least corrupt.
The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), the punishment for committing such crime is a fine not exceeding $100,000 or a jail term of not exceeding 5 years or to both. But the maximum jail term has been increased to 7 years, if the transactions involve the government or Public Service personnel or if the bribery target is a member of parliament or a public servant.
The Prevention of Corruption Act also states that if the gratification involves a sum of money or if a value can be attached to the gratification, the court may order the convict to pay a sum equal to the amount of gratification received as a fine.