An Indian-origin former boss of a security firm in Singapore was jailed for 10 months on Monday for bribing the security department manager of a department store along the hotel-belt of Orchard Road here for not being able to provide guards as per contract requirement for over three years. Mandhir Singh’s security firm, White Knights Security Services, frequently lacked enough officers to work the day shift at the Takashimaya department store in Ngee Ann City mall.
Under the contract with Takashimaya, Singh’s company should have paid the department store liquidated damages each time there was such a shortfall. However, to avoid the damages, he agreed to give money instead to Takashimaya’s security department manager, Chan Kuen Thong, according to a report by TODAY newspaper.
He gave SGD 121,000 in gratification to Chan over more than three years and Takashiyama suffered an estimated loss of SGD 479,700 as a result. Mandhir, 30, pleaded guilty to five corruption charges, with another 15 similar charges taken into consideration for sentencing, the report said.
Chan, also known as Andrew, has also been charged and his case is pending. The court heard that in 2016, Takashimaya tasked Chan with sourcing for quotations from security agencies, after its previous provider could not supply enough manpower in accordance with the contract. Based on Chan’s recommendations, Takashimaya awarded contracts to White Knights from 2017 to 2021.
In total, White Knights signed three contracts with Takashimaya, each promising to offer 18 security officers in the day shift and six in the night shift for a monthly rate of SGD 99,300.
Under the agreement, the firm would have to pay liquidated damages to Takashimaya if there was a shortfall in the number of security officers it deployed at the store.
From the time the first contract took effect in Jan 2017, Mandhir was already lacking an average of three to five security officers for each day shift. Chan soon complained about some security posts being left unmanned.
Mandhir said that he would resolve the matter but was unable to do so. Later that same month, Chan called for a meeting and asked Mandhir to pay him SGD 4,000 every month so that he would not request liquidated damages to be paid to Takashimaya.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Benjamin Samynathan told the court that Mandhir agreed despite knowing the plan was corrupt. Mandhir, a permanent resident in Singapore, knew White Knights would save a lot of money, as it stood to incur between SGD 12,300 and SGD 20,500 in damages a month, based on the average daily shortfall in his manpower deployment at the store.
The Takashimaya contract was also the first big contract that Mandhir was handling and he was afraid to lose it. the sum of SGD 4,000 each month, Mandhir could secure subsequent security contracts with Takashimaya and save himself the trouble of having to find more security officers for deployment at Takashimaya, DPP Benjamin said.
Takashimaya suffered an estimated loss of SGD 12,300 a month for 39 months, amounting to a total estimated loss of SGD479,700. Neither Chan, Mandhir nor White Knights have made any restitution. Chan reimbursed the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau with SGD 15,000 out of the bribes he had received.
DPP Benjamin sought at least 11 months’ jail, noting that Takashimaya houses several shops selling high-end products. For each charge of giving gratification, Mandhir, whose nationality was not stated in the media reports, could have been jailed for up to five years or fined up to SGD 100,000, or punished with both.