Changi airport, illegal airside permits, support officer, Singapore
The officer worked at Changi Airport (in pic) from October 6, 2015, to December 25, 2017, and issued permits to those he knew did not pass the requisite theory and practical tests I File Photo

Indian-origin officer at Singapore's Changi Airport jailed for taking bribes

An Indian-origin former Changi Airport Group (CAG) support officer was sentenced to three years and two months in jail on Friday for accepting bribes to issue Airside Driving Permits (ADPs) to unqualified workers.

Premkumar Jaya Kumar, 42, took SGD 4,400 from people, including a company director, reported The Straits Times.

An ADP allows the permit holder to drive selected vehicles at any part of an airside except for taxiways and runways. An airside is part of an airport terminal beyond passport and customs control, including places such as hangars and cargo loading areas.

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Illegal permits

Premkumar, who worked with CAG from October 6, 2015, to December 25, 2017, had issued the permits even though he knew that company director Diong Yao’s workers did not pass the requisite theory and practical tests.

At the time of the offences, Diong, 41, was a director at Singapura Logistics Support, while another man, Noordin Abdul Gaffor, 48, was a supervisor at the firm. Their cases are still pending.

Premkumar also modified data in a CAG computer platform — called the Apron Permit Issuance and Enforcement System (APIES) — to falsify the workers’ profiles and show that they had purportedly passed their theory and practical tests.

Pleading guilty

He pleaded guilty to offences under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and multiple counts of graft.

His bail was set at SGD 25,000 on Friday and he is expected to surrender at the State Courts on May 17 to begin serving his sentence, according to The Straits Times report.

Besides the jail term, he was also ordered to pay a penalty of SGD 7,500. Premkumar will spend an additional 15 days behind bars if he is unable to fork out this amount.

The prosecution said that by committing these offences, the accused unleashed at least 42 untrained and unlicensed drivers on Changi Airports airside. The inherent danger these untrained drivers posed to human safety and property on the airside is exponential.

Airside area collision

Premkumar’s offences came to light when a 19-year-old Malaysian youth, who was then driving a baggage tractor in an airside area, collided with a parked SilkAir plane on December 8, 2017.

As a result, the aircraft sustained SGD 795,000 in damage and was declared unfit to fly.

CAG conducted an investigation and found out that the teenager’s APIES profile was inaccurate and that Premkumar had modified it.

Also read: Singapore hangs Indian-origin man over 1 kg of cannabis

Premkumar received another SGD 2,400 in bribes in 2016 and 2017. Improper ADPs were then issued to at least 42 drivers between September 2016 and December 2017.

He surrendered to the police on December 19, 2019.

(With Agency inputs)

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