FORMER ICA OFFICER JAILED FOR ACCEPTING BRIBE

SINGAPORE — A former officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) was jailed today (May 9) for four months, and ordered to pay a penalty of S$50 for accepting a bribe.

25-year-old Ezhar Kamis, a former ICA specialist attached to Tuas Checkpoint, pleaded guilty to the offence which took place sometime in March 2011.

He is the last of four officers to be charged for their involvement in a scheme masterminded by another former ICA officer.

The mastermind, Mohammed Mustaffa Mohabat Ali, was jailed 21 months and ordered to pay a penalty of S$8,050 in December last year for giving and accepting bribes.

He had hatched a scheme to grant social visit passes to foreign women to extend their stay in Singapore in return for monetary gain.

The court heard today that Ezhar was one of four ICA officers recruited by Mustaffa, and had granted two women from the Philippines fresh Social Visit Passes valid for 30 days.

He did so despite knowing that the women had left and entered Singapore on the same day, and that issuing the passes contravened ICA policy.

Ezhar later received S$50 from Mustaffa for his role in the scheme.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Yeo submitted that ICA officers have an important duty to safeguard Singapore’s borders, and that Ezhar compromised the integrity of his office for personal benefit.

In mitigation, Ezhar’s lawyer Anil Singh said that his client had caved in to pressure exerted by Mustaffa.

He said that Ezhar was not motivated by profit, but rather had concerns over Mustaffa’s influence over his career advancement.

Mr Yeo countered that it was “slightly unbelievable” that Ezhar could have thought his actions were best for his career. In addition, Mustaffa was also not his supervisor.

He added that Ezhar should have reported Mustaffa, knowing that what the latter had proposed was a breach of ICA policy.

The other three officers who assisted Mustaffa in the scheme were each jailed four months and ordered to pay penalties of between S$50 and S$150. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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