Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

Former law firm legal executive jailed 18 weeks for corruption and OSA offences

SINGAPORE – A law firm legal executive approached Traffic Police clerk Khatijah A. Manap and asked her if she could pass him the contact details of traffic accident victims found in police reports.

Gulzar Raja Singh Sandhu also told Khatijah, who is 63 this year, that she would be given $200 for every victim who eventually engages the company he worked for, Clifford Law.

She agreed to be part of the plan and later received from him bribes totalling at least $2,500.

Raja pleaded guilty on Friday (Nov 9) to eight counts of offences under the Official Secrets Act and three corruption charges. The 71-year-old, who no longer works for the law firm, was sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail.

During sentencing, 22 other charges were considered. Raja committed these offences between 2010 and 2013.

Khatijah was similarly sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail in 2016 after admitting to her role in the scheme.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Sng said that while working for the Traffic Police, Khatijah was tasked to record the movement of investigation papers.

She was involved in a traffic accident in 2008 and a relative referred her to Raja. The legal executive then introduced Khatijah to his daughter, a lawyer at the firm. Court documents did not reveal her name.

After she received her payout from her accident claims in 2010, Raja approached Khatijah at her workplace and asked if she wanted to work with him in the scheme and she agreed.

The clerk would then randomly identify individuals who were accident victims from the investigation papers she handled and hand over their contact details to Raja.

The offences came to light in 2013 when a man who had been involved in an accident called the Traffic Police hotline to ask about the status of investigations. He was connected to Khatijah’s office line, and left his particulars for a callback.

Shortly after, he got a call from an “Azizah” claiming to be from Clifford Law. She advised him to consult Raja’s daughter if he wished to seek compensation and said she could arrange a meeting with a paralegal called “Mr Raja”.

When the man called Khatijah’s office line to ask her why she had disclosed his number to an outsider, she told him she was “Azizah”. He then reported the matter to a Traffic Police senior officer.

Urging the court to sentence Raja to 18 weeks’ jail, DPP Sng said: “While there is no evidence that the corruption led to any tangible detriment to the persons contacted, the accused’s bribery of Khatijah undermined the integrity of the file handling process of the Traffic Police.”

Defence lawyer Amolat Singh pleaded for a five-week jail term. He said: “The contact details were not abused for any deplorable purpose.

“It is undisputed that the law firm did not even know that the defendant had asked for referrals from Khatijah and that the defendant paid her for the referrals.”

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