STEng – BT

Senior ST Engineering exec nabbed in CPIB probe

Former ST Marine financial controller is now out on bail

A senior executive of Singapore Technologies Engineering, as well as former and current employees of the company, have been hauled up by the anti-corruption bureau over investigations into falsified accounts linked to the company’s marine services division.

Patrick Lee Swee Ching, former group financial controller at Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine), two existing staffers and an ex-employee have been arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), ST Engineering said in a press release yesterday. All four have been released on bail.

Mr Lee, now chief financial officer of ST Engineering’s US division, Vision Technologies Systems (VT Systems), was arrested last Thursday for an offence under Section 477A of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. The offence relates to an officer who destroys or falsifies documents ‘wilfully and with intent to defraud’. Mr Lee has not been charged in court.

No details were provided on the type of accounts that were being investigated or the date of the alleged offence. Mr Lee was with ST Marine between 2001 and 2006, and joined VT Systems in November 2006.

He returned to the US on Sept 10 – two days after the CPIB arrested him – after the bureau granted him permission to leave the country. He is still chief financial officer at VT Systems.

‘We are aware that two current employees and one former employee of ST Marine have also been arrested by the CPIB and released on bail. These employees do not hold key management appointments in the ST Engineering group,’ said ST Engineering.

The company has also launched an internal inquiry into the matter, it added. ‘We will take appropriate action as necessary after the inquiry has been completed and we have reviewed the findings.’

Mr Lee has been with ST Engineering since 1996. He started as group financial controller in the aerospace sector before moving to ST Marine five years later. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with ExxonMobil, and three years as an auditor at Ernst & Young.

The father of three graduated from Raffles Institution and is a Certified Public Accountant.

ST Marine provides shipbuilding services to customers that include the US Navy. Its shipbuilding contracts with the US Navy are won through its US shipyard unit, VT Halter Marine, which is in turn held through VT Systems.

Those found guilty under Section 477A of the Penal Code may be imprisoned for up to 10 years, ordered to pay a fine, or both.

ST Engineering posted a net profit of $130.5 million for the second quarter ended June, up 5 per cent from a year ago, despite a fall in revenue of 2 per cent to $1.48 billion.

The results were dragged down by the US dollar’s depreciation against the Singapore currency.

Amid a broad market selldown, ST Engineering shares lost 3.07 per cent or nine cents to end at $2.84 yesterday.

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