SINGAPORE — A former Shell employee who helped siphoned gas oil in a massive heist from Pulau Bukom in Singapore was jailed for 15 years and four months on Thursday (26 May).
Muhamad Farhan Mohamed Rashid, 34, was part of a syndicate which misappropriated S$128 million in gasoil from Shell’s largest petrochemical production and export centre in Asia Pacific.
For his role, Farhan helped to misappropriate around US$44 million (S$59.6 million) in gasoil to sell on the black market between 2014 and 2016, and received around S$735,331.
Farhan pleaded guilty to 13 out of 27 charges of engaging in a conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust as a servant, five out of 13 charges of converting or transferring criminal proceeds, and one charge of consuming methamphetamine in September last year. The remaining charges, including two related to drugs, were considered for his sentencing.
Farhan joined Shell Eastern Petroleum around 2010 as a process technician or control panel operator. His last earned salary was S$3,500.
Four years later, he was roped into the scheme — which spanned a decade — by two of the masterminds, Juandi Pungot, 45, and Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 40. Juandi was jailed for 29 years in March in one of the longest prison terms for a commercial crime that the Singapore Courts have passed in recent years.
The conspiracy involved selling the misappropriated gasoil to captains of vessels at a price lower than the prevailing estimated market value.
Farhan’s primary role was to help open and close the bypass valves to facilitate the transfer of stolen gasoil in a manner that would not be detected by their employer. Farhan also assisted Juandi in switching off radars to the gasoil tanks so that any data of oil would not be recorded.
Spent criminal proceeds on property, car, restaurant
With the funds he gained from his crime, Farhan invested S$44,750 in property at Funtasy Island Resort, Capri Residents and Island 7, jointly with Juandi in 2014. He bought a Honda Vezel worth S$119,511.43 in 2016.
In 2017, together with Juandi and Muzaffar, Farhan also set up a halal Japanese restaurant known as Hararu Izakaya under the company 3 Amigoes, using S$60,000 of the money he received from the conspiracy.
Later that year, Farhan used S$45,250 to pay the five per cent booking fee in exchange for an option to purchase a condominium unit at Grandeur Park Residences in Bedok. The purchase did not go through as Farhan was charged over drug offences.
In early 2015, Shell began noticing a significant unidentified oil loss at Shell Pulau Bukom. It investigated the loss but did not detect any misappropriation initially. Shell eventually appointed a team of analysts who discovered the scheme and a representative lodged a police report on 1 August 2017.
By then Shell had run up a loss of around S$128 million in gasoil. It took another S$6 million for Shell to manage the consequences of the long term misappropriation, including implementing new measures such as installing anti-theft CCTVs, a monitoring software to detect the theft of gasoil, and creating new permanent positions to strengthen the supervision of key processes.
Separately, three surveyors who accepted bribes to cover up the misappropriation of the gasoil were also sentenced to jail on Thursday. Anand Omprekas, 39, was jailed for six months, Noruliman Bakti, 40, for eight months, and Muhammad Khairul Asri Mohamad Hanafiah, 38, for four months. They were each given a penalty of $20,000, $33,604.25, and $8,286.60 respectively.
The three men had pleaded guilty to corruption, having each received between US$6,000 and US$25,000 in bribes from Muzaffar and Juandi in exchange for not reporting accurately the amount of cargo loaded onto vessels which they were engaged to inspect.
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