Former employees of SPRING Singapore, a government agency responsible for helping local enterprises grow, Soh Hua Xiang, 31, and his co-accused and lover, I Shu Hui, 30, were sentenced to 15 months’ jail and 12 months’ jail respectively, for making fraudulent applications under the names of SMEs to cheat the statutory board of around S$50,000.

The court reports that back in August 2015, Soh and I had targeted mini marts to apply for Innovation and Capability Vouchers (ICV) online, where these applications were made for Point-of-Sales (POS) systems. These $5,000 vouchers administered by Spring enables SMEs to apply for up to a maximum of eight, to improve productivity and human resource capabilities.

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Soh, who worked as a business capabilities manager at SPRING from 2011 to 2015, created various email addresses, forged quotations for the POS systems from four companies without their knowledge, falsified invoices and receipts “issued” by these four solution providers, and submitted them to SPRING.

Through a joint account set up with another friend, he received the illegal funds. He then submitted the forged Giro authorisation forms to claim reimbursements from SPRING.

I, who was working as SPRING's finance manager then, would approve the disbursements.

Soh’s defence lawyer Che Wei Chin defended his client: "Soh was disillusioned and frustrated that he could not convince his former boss that the ICV scheme had some loopholes, and committed the offences to highlight these loopholes."

In response, district judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said: "He did not have to make 40 fraudulent applications to prove that."

Both Soh and I expressed their sincere apologies to SPRING, the public service and everyone else they had disappointed. For their fraud, the couple could have been jailed up to 10 years’ jail and fined for every charge against them.

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