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Former NUS prof and research fellow charged for submitting false claims

Wan Ting Koh
·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore
(PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore file)

SINGAPORE — A former National University of Singapore (NUS) professor and a former research fellow were charged in court on Thursday (28 January) over separate cheating offences.

Tan Kok Kiong, a 53-year-old ex-professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was said to have submitted fraudulent claims amounting to $100,100 to the university between 2012 and 2019.

He allegedly generated fictitious invoices for purchase of products and services, and submitted claims that were either inflated or for expenses allegedly unrelated to his research grant. In this manner, he is said to have cheated NUS’ approving officers into disbursing sums of money to him.

According to his charge sheets, Tan is said to have cheated officers into disbursing him money for final-year projects, postgraduate programme projects and collaborations with the government.

He is said to have cheated an officer into believing he had bought two pieces of air discs and a C21 pump for final-year projects that he was supervising. In another instance, he allegedly cheated another officer into believing he had purchased slim panel boards for 30 patients participating in a project called the Automated Spinal Landmark Identification.

He also cheated officers into believing he had bought a Bluetooth AV signal transmitter module and a double DIN rail casing with wiring, for the purpose of an Economic Development Board Industrial Postgraduate Programme project on the development of an e-doctor, and that he had bought a fibreglass water tank for a Ministry of Defence and NUS project.

The Singaporean was handed 32 counts of forgery for cheating, as well as five counts of cheating and dishonestly inducing a delivery of money.

Tan will return to court on 4 March.

Research fellow submitted sham claims of purchases, travel expenses

Separately, Thomas Teh Kok Xiong, a former research fellow at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, allegedly submitted sham claims amounting to $41,000 to NUS from 2014 to 2018.

These pertained to purchases purportedly claimed for work, including medical forceps, a drill bit set, absorbent pads, glass syringes, angled needles, UV face shield, towel holder, soap dispenser and drying rack, containers, first-aid cream, band-aids and bandages and a foldable table.

Teh is also accused of claiming travel expenses that he was allegedly not entitled to.

He allegedly claimed for sums he incurred from a 2018 trip to Osaka for the TERMIS World Congress; a 2014 trip to Daegu, South Korea, for the TERMIS Asia-Pacific Annual Conference; a September 2011 trip to Busan, South Korea; and a trip to Sydney in September 2010.

The 41-year-old Singaporean is said to have altered some receipts or invoices to support his dishonest claims, cheating NUS’ approving officers into disbursing money to him.

Teh was handed five counts of forgery for the purpose of cheating, and 22 counts of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of money. He will return to court on 25 February.

An NUS spokesperson told Yahoo News Singapore that both Teh and Tan are no longer employed by the university.

He added, “NUS takes a strong stand against any form of staff misconduct....We are unable to comment further as the case is now before the courts.”

If convicted of cheating or forgery for the purpose of cheating, either of the accused may be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

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