A 41-year-old man has been hauled to court over his alleged involvement in Singapore's largest case of a public institution being defrauded to date, involving nearly $40 million.
The government agency involved is SkillsFuture Singapore, which promotes a culture of lifelong learning.
On Tuesday (Dec 19), Ng Cheng Kwee was charged with three counts of intentionally perverting the course of justice.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting told the court that a criminal syndicate could be involved and Ng is believed to be one of the main perpetrators.
Before this, Ng was charged with one count of engaging in a conspiracy to commit forgery.
He was also charged with concealing benefits of criminal conduct - namely $6.7 million in cash and 11kg of gold worth about $600,000.
Ng is said to have committed these offences between April and last month.
Four other people have also been charged over their alleged involvement in the case.
In a statement on Tuesday, SkillsFuture Singapore said it detected anomalies in claims for training grants at the end of October.
It immediately suspended all payments of grants to nine business entities and reported the matter to the police.
Following this incident, SkillsFuture Singapore said it has taken immediate action to tighten its processes, including implementing fraud analytics, while conducting a comprehensive review of the system.
"(SkillsFuture Singapore) takes a serious view of any individual, training provider or organisation that abuses its funding schemes, and will not hesitate to take action against those who contravene its funding rules and guidelines," said the agency.
Ng is now remanded at Central Police Division and will be back in court on Dec 26.
Five suspected members of a criminal syndicate have been charged with a series of offences, which resulted in close to S$40 million in fraudulent claims being paid out by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).
In a news release on Tuesday (Dec 19), SSG said the offences include “engaging in a conspiracy to submit forged documents to fraudulently obtain training subsidies from SSG, and to conceal the benefits from such criminal conduct.”
Police seized substantial cash and froze a number of bank accounts involved in the case, the release added.
“Preliminary police investigation reveals that the criminal syndicate behind these fraudulent claims operated an organised network that utilised nine business entities, comprising employer companies and training providers, to submit the fraudulent claims.”
SSG said it detected anomalies in claims for training grants at the end of October 2017 and immediately suspended all payments of grants to the nine business entities and reported the case to the police.
It added that it has taken immediate actions to tighten processes, which include implementing fraud analytics, while conducting a comprehensive review of the system.
SSG takes a serious view of any individual, training provider or organisation that abuses its funding schemes, and will not hesitate to take action against those who contravene its funding rules and guidelines,” the release added.
Police investigations are ongoing.
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