Singapore

Singapore

SINGAPORE: A Housing and Development Board (HDB) investigator was sentenced to 25 days in prison after informing a friend of an upcoming inspection of the apartment where he was renting.

Kalayrasan Karuppaya, a A 55-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to two charges of violating the Official Secrets Act on Monday (August 30) by providing information about the upcoming inspection to Damandeep Singh, a 22-year-old Indian citizen.

The defendant , who has been suspended from his post since January 25th last year, was not authorized to disclose the information to Damandeep.

The court heard on Monday that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore (CPIB) announced on January 9th received information last year that Kalayrasan Damandeep submitted information several times about the upcoming inspection of the HDB apartment in 2019.

As an investigative officer In the rank of senior real estate manager, Kalayrasan’s work included conducting investigations into sublet and usage-related violations in HDB properties, said Deputy Prosecutor Thiam Jia Min and the abuse of units for vice or other illegal activity.

As part of his investigation, the defendant was involved in conducting surprise inspections of units identified in feedback and complaints from members of the public and the Singapore police, said Ms. Thiam.

The defendant knew that information about such surprise inspections was confidential information that he was not allowed to disclose to anyone, including the owners and tenants of these units.

Together with five another, Damandeep was a registered tenant in the one in question Unit, Ms. Thiam said, noting that the maximum number of people allowed in the unit is six.

Any breach of this condition could potentially result in unauthorized renters from renting HDB -Units will be banned from renting the unit for a period of time and the owner of the unit will be banned from renting the unit.

“Investigations have shown Damandeep and some of the other registered tenants to illegally use the apartment at all important times in violation of HDB rules Sublet to other tenants, “said Ms. Thiam.

” The purpose was to allow the illegal subtenants to pay part of the monthly rental costs for the unit. They raised about S $ 200 a month from each illegal lodger, “she added.

In total, there were about 12 to 13 people in the apartment at one point, she said, adding that Kalayarasan had nothing at that point knew of these facts.

Kalayarasan befriended Damandeep after conducting two inspections of the unit he was in in 2017 and 2018, Ms. Thiam said.

Prosecutors found that the HDB received a complaint from a citizen about suspected overcrowding in the apartment where Damandeep was a registered tenant sometime before May 8, 2019.

The case was assigned to Kalayarasan, who notified Damandeep of the complaint. Damandeep then asked Kalayrasan to inform him in advance if a surprise inspection by HDB would take place in the unit.

“Damandeep explained to the defendant that he liked the location of the unit very much and was concerned that he would have to give it up if he were caught for allowing his friends to stay overnight on some nights so that the unit would be overcrowded, ”said Ms. Thiam informing illegal lodgers prior to the inspection by the HDB in order to vacate the apartment, “added the prosecutor.

When she found that Kalayarasan was unaware, Ms. Thiam said that the defendants, because of their friendship Damandeep asked for approval.

The defendant was aware that he would undermine the investigation of the HDB and that he was no compensation for the disclosure of the information to Damandee p, she added.

A surprise inspection of the unit was scheduled for May 8, 2019, and the defendant called Damandeep to report the inspection on the evening of that date.

Damandeep informed then the illegal lodgers to leave the apartment quickly before the inspection, noted Ms. Thiam.

When Kalayrasan arrived at the apartment with another officer on the evening of May 8th, only two registered tenants were present.

The apartment showed no apparent signs of overcrowding or illegal subletting and the case was closed without further action, prosecutors found.

Between August and September of the same year, officers from the Bukit Merah East Neighborhood Police Center later carried out checks at various HDBs -Apartments through, including the apartment where Damandeep was renting.

The police stopped during their two visits on August 24th and September 4th of this year found that the unit was overcrowded with 19 and 18 residents respectively.

When preliminary investigations revealed that the sub-tenants were illegal, the police referred the case and its results to the HDB, the case being a Chris Ong

Mr. Ong asked Kalayarasan, who had been deployed to other areas at the time, to help him inspect the unit as he knew that the defendant had previously carried out inspections there.

A surprise inspection was planned for the evening of September 10, 2019, which Kalayarasan then informed Damandeep about.

That night, the defendant and Mr. Ong came to the unit for an inspection and found that no one was at home.

They called Mr. Leong Mun Chong, the owner of the apartment, and he arrived with Damandeep about 15 minutes later.

At this point they found three residents in the house and no apparent signs of overcrowding or ill The public prosecutor announced.

After Mr. Leong was informed of the police referral and the suspected overcrowding, he decided to terminate the lease and the apartment was vacated by 09/22/2019.

The Prosecutors had called for a simultaneous one-month sentence per charge.

Ms. Thiam said Kalayrasan’s actions had undermined the HDB’s investigation, adding that the defendant “not only neglected his own duties as a lawyer at the agency, but actively obstructed ”.

Kalayrasan’s case differed from previous violations of the Official Secrets Act in that in previous cases, law enforcement officers had not violated the laws they were supposed to apply and that“ real ramifications ”had resulted from his actions that had enabled Damandeep to avoid detection, prosecutor argued.

To mitigate her, Kalayrasan’s attorney Cheryl Sim applied for a two-week jail sentence and found that her client had neither obtained nor sought any personal gain from his actions.

Ms. Sim found that the Defendant had pleaded guilty to the offense at the earliest opportunity and that this was his first encounter with the law.

Kalayarasan regretted that his friendship with Damandeep had tarnished his judgment and hoped to move on from this chapter in his life, added the defense.

When pronouncing the verdict, District Judge Prem Raj stated that the accused, as an investigative officer, would be aware of the effects of informing tenants of unexpected inspections.

Those who committed an offense under the Official Secrets Act Found guilty faces a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to S $ 2,000.

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Ref: https://www.channelnewsasia.com