Singapore

Three months' jail for seeking bribe for intimate acts

A Singapore Customs investigation officer (IO) abused his position by trying to obtain a bribe from a woman in the form of intimate acts.

Jonathan Sasayiah, now 31, was jailed for three months yesterday after a district court found him guilty of the July 15, 2014 offence following a 10-day trial.

The woman, who cannot be named due to a gag order, had been fined $500 for having two sticks of contraband cigarettes.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu said Jonathan called the woman, who was facing serious financial difficulties, on July 2, 2014 to ask her out on a date.

The mother-of-four testified that he called her again 13 days later to ask how she was going to settle the fine.

He said he could help her reduce it, and asked what he would receive in return for his assistance.

The woman suggested they have dinner but he rejected the idea.

She said he then asked if they could "make out".

DPP Navin said the woman understood that "make out" meant to have sex, and she made a police report the next day on July 16.

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers arrested Jonathan on Aug 13.

DPP Navin urged District Judge Michelle Yap to sentence Jonathan to at least five months' jail.

Stressing that the former IO had abused his position, he said: "The accused knew that the complainant was a young single mother... who was in dire financial straits and his corrupt conduct served to exploit this."

Defence lawyer Patrick Fernandez asked the judge to sentence Jonathan to a fine of $10,000 instead.

He said: "From (July 15, 2014) to the date he was arrested... Jonathan did not make any arrangements to meet the victim."

Before handing out the sentence, the judge noted that Jonathan did not receive the gratification he had sought from the woman.

Jonathan is out on bail of $15,000 to settle some personal matters, and will surrender to the court on May 29.

For attempting to obtain the bribe, he could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.

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