I’m not sure if the company gave politically correct replies or did they really mean what they said – but basically, it’s just one of the endless things that I read that says "suck thumb" again. Haha… apparently, sucking thumb seems to be the latest thing in town, or at least it seems to be =P

These 2 poor chaps (in article) were charged in court for trying to remove evidence from their office premises. Strangely, these 2 were just employees of the company and no mention of the tax evasion probe was on them. While the company agreed to continue to retain them for work, they said that the fines that were imposed on the 2 employees will not be borne by the company because they acted on their own personal capacity.

Haha… so much for blinded loyalty.

TWO men working for a large parallel importer pleaded guilty yesterday to removing evidence that had been seized by Singapore Customs officers in a probe into a case of suspected tax evasion.

In the first case of its kind here, Ng Chee Siang, 25, was fined $12,000, and his accomplice Chua Wee Meng, 38, $8,000 in a district court.

The offence took place last June, when a party of Customs officers armed with a search warrant raided the Auto Touch Credit office in Kampong Ubi. The pair, employees in the company’s purchasing department, had tried to leave the premises with a file that had been seized.

They could each have been jailed for up to 18 months for what they did.

Auto Touch Credit is the main company behind Pinnacle Motors, a retailer of parallel imported cars, which posted sales in excess of $250 million last year.

The statement of facts by a Customs prosecutor said that the officers seized several files during the raid, on suspicion that the company was under-declaring the value of its car imports to evade taxes.

During the operation, Ng, holding one of the seized files, was spotted heading for the exit. A Customs officer stopped him and retrieved it.

A few hours later, Chua, Auto Touch’s purchasing manager, was seen leaving the office with the file. Ignoring a Customs officer who shouted at him to stop, Chua ran for a staircase, where he handed the file to Ng. The pair headed for the carpark via different exits, but a Customs officer intercepted them and retrieved the file.

They were arrested three months later.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong, handing down the sentence yesterday, said Ng and Chua would have received jail terms if any evidence had been destroyed.

In his mitigation plea, the men’s lawyer, Mr Foo Cheow Ming of KhattarWong, said his clients were ‘not rogues, but utter fools’. He said they were ‘hardworking, upcoming and basically decent young men’ who had acted ‘out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to the company’.

Pinnacle managing director Valerie Tan said yesterday that Ng and Chua will keep their jobs, but that the company would not pay for their fines ‘because they acted in their personal capacity’.

She could not say why they tried to retrieve the file, which she claimed had ‘nothing to do with new car imports’.

The tax evasion probe is still under way.

Article obtained on 5th March 2008

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