Jail for Enterprise Singapore ex
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Jail for Enterprise Singapore ex

May 31, 2023

SINGAPORE - A former employee of Enterprise Singapore, who kept a copy of his former colleague's resume, used the man's NRIC number to redeem a face mask after leaving the agency amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chua Soon Seng, 41, obtained the face mask from a self-service kiosk in Choa Chu Kang during Temasek Foundation's mask distribution initiative. He also used the NRIC numbers of other people to obtain seven more masks. The eight masks cost $88 in total.

Chua was sentenced to seven days’ jail on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to offences including two counts of cheating.

Between November 2018 and November 2020, he was employed as an administrative worker at Enterprise Singapore, a government agency championing enterprise development.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Derek Ee said: "The accused explained that he received the... resume through his work e-mail some time (between October and November 2020) while he was still employed in Enterprise Singapore. The accused thought that the... resume was impressive and retained it by keeping a soft copy of the resume, together with the personal information."

In March 2021, Temasek Foundation, the social and charity arm of Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings, conducted the fourth iteration of its nationwide mask collection exercise.

Singapore residents with a valid identification card could collect a reusable mask from any vending machine by scanning the barcode on a document such as their NRIC or manually key in their NRIC number. No further verification was needed and only one face mask would be issued per NRIC number.

On March 1, 2021, Chua went to a dispensing machine at the void deck of Block 293 in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3, keyed in a 52-year-old woman's NRIC number and obtained a mask.

Court documents did not state how Chua was linked to the woman or how he obtained her personal information.

Chua went to another machine at the void deck of Block 421 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 the next day and committed a similar offence using his former colleague's NRIC number.

On March 5, 2021, the former colleague tried to obtain his mask from a machine in Bukit Panjang and found that it had been redeemed.

He made a police report and Chua's offences came to light when investigators viewed footage taken from a closed-circuit television camera near the machine.

Officers raided his home and seized items including a laptop that was found to contain a soft copy of his former colleague's resume.

DPP Ee urged the court to sentence Chua to two weeks’ jail, stressing that the offences were difficult to detect and were committed against a public institution.

Chua was represented by lawyers Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Josiah Zee who pleaded for their client to be given not more than a $6,000 fine. And if the court was not inclined to do so, the team from Invictus Law Corporation asked for their client to be given a short detention order (SDO) of not more than 14 days.

Offenders with an SDO are jailed for a short time, but they will not have a criminal record after their release.

The lawyers stated in court documents: "The total value of the masks involved was low. It is undisputed that the masks unlawfully redeemed were not to be sold... Ever since his case in court, (Chua) had not reoffended in any manner."

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

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