Singapore

CNB officer gets 18 months’ jail for swapping urine samples

This article is more than 12 months old

A Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer has been slapped with an 18-month jail term for switching urine samples at Woodlands Checkpoint to let a suspect off the hook so that he could avoid the paperwork to charge the man with a drug offence.

Mohamed Hafiz Lan, 41, was sentenced yesterday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of intentionally obstructing the course of justice.

His alleged co-conspirators, sergeant Muhammad Zuhairi Zainuri, 31, and staff sergeant Abdul Rahman Kadir, 43, have been charged with the same offence, and will be dealt with at a later date. All three officers have been suspended since July 2019.

They were working at Woodlands Checkpoint late at night on Aug 15, 2018, when they encountered Maung Moe Min Oo, a 32-year-old Singaporean, who was referred to them for further drug testing as a swab test showed he had consumed drugs.

Subsequent investigations revealed that Maung had indeed taken drugs before attempting to enter Singapore.

Knowing that he was unlikely to pass the urine test, Maung not only declined to give a urine sample but also sought leniency from the officers.

The trio allegedly hatched a plan in the wee hours of the morning on Aug 16, 2018, to give him a "second chance" - by switching his urine sample with one of their own so that the man could pass the drug test.

The court heard that the officers did so because they knew the process to get a sample from him could take some time, and that switching his urine sample with a clean sample could expedite the processing of his departure from the CNB office with no further action on their part.

Mohamed Hafiz collected his own urine sample and hid it in one of the cubicles in a toilet at the checkpoint.

When he brought Maung to the toilet on the pretext of collecting his urine sample, he told Maung where to find the clean sample.

He also gave Maung detailed instructions on how to pass the sample off as his own. Maung passed the test and was allowed to enter Singapore.

The misdeeds came to light when Maung left Singapore and tried to re-enter the country the next day.

He was detained again for suspected drug consumption by a different CNB team.

He then revealed to them that CNB officers had helped him pass his urine test the previous night.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Navin Naidu and Thiagesh Sukumaran said that a heavier sentence was warranted, citing the extensive planning and premeditation. They also asked for a deterrent sentence to reflect the gravity of the offence.

"When a law enforcement officer commits an offence in the course of his duties, an uplift in sentence is imposed irrespective of the offender's motive, be it financial gain or plain laziness," said DPP Naidu.

COURT & CRIME