A freelance interior designer has been sentenced to eight months in jail for helping a contractor win a project bid for Singapore Airlines.
The interior designer, Rex Zhang Jiahao, worked with former Singapore Airlines employee Lionel Low Jun Jie, to help a contractor win a bid for airline projects.
Jiahao is the first person to receive a sentence after he pleaded guilty in August 2023 to receiving financial commission from the contractor.
Low worked as an assistant manager of properties (development) at Singapore Airlines, and met Jiahao when they both undertook reservist duties for Singapore.
Low’s job at the airline included conducting quotations and shortlisting contractors for interviews, before recommending the contractor to Singapore Airlines to be awarded the project.
Sometime in late 2018 to 2019, Singapore Airlines conducted a tender for the construction of a two-storey prefabricated building that consisted of 24 training classrooms.
The court heard that when Low found out that Zhang was an interior designer, he asked him to recommend building contractors for the project.
Low allegedly suggested to Zhang that he could advise the prospective contractor that he had an inside contact with Singapore Airlines who could assist in securing the tender, in exchange for a commission from the contractor.
Zhang agreed to the plan, and the two agreed to split the commission equally.
In 2018, Zhang contacted Joseph Ang, manager of Lin Builders. Ang expressed interest in the project and proceeded to prepare the necessary documents to make a bid.
The prosecutor said that to assist Ang with the preparation, Zhang passed him confidential information from Low, which included Singapore Airlines’ budget for the project, as well as the expected timelines and milestones.
The court heard that Low also disclosed the budget of SGD 2.5 million ($1.3 million) for the project, so that Zhang could advise Ang to quote a lower amount
The airline eventually awarded the project to Lin Builders for around SGD 2.17 million ($1.5 million). The company was also awarded a contract to supply furniture linked to it.
It was the largest project that Lin Builders had obtained and completed as of April 2021.
Court documents stated that the commission from Ang to Zhang and Low totaled more than SGD 207,000 ($151,000), which was paid out through six cheques in 2019.
Aside from the eight months jail time, Zhang was also ordered to pay a penalty of more than SGD 103,700 ($76,000)