Former NLB manager pushing digitisation of services found guilty of corruption

National Library Board Singapore's (NLB) former manager of Digital Resource Services Department was sentenced to four years and four months of jail time for corruption offences. He was also ordered by the courts to pay SG$229,000 in penalty, according The Straits Times (ST). The article added that the offences were made by the individual Ivan Koh Siong involved nearly SG$600,000.

Koh worked with NLB to set up its Digital Resource Services Department and was appointed the manager of the department in 2005, making him the second in command of digital resource services. This came as NLB eyed digitisation of its services to enable online access of its digital databases, e-book and e-comics for members.

Koh was accused of sharing the information on NLB’s digitisation plans with his accomplice and friend Low Pok Woen, who had reportedly given him bribes for information regarding the digital services. Low then incorporated a firm known as Database Resource Services to provide this service for NLB in November 2005. He also set up two other firms, JCD Crossmedia and W3.XS where he was director and shareholder during the time of the offence.

According to TODAY, Low set aside approximately 30% of all the profits from NLB contracts to be given as bribes to Koh. In return, Koh helped advance Low’s business interests with NLB in numerous ways. In 2014, NLB's senior assistant director lodged a police report stating that Low's companies might have committed fraud while supplying digital content to the board. 

TODAY also reported Koh took bribes on 51 occasions from Low between November 2005 and November 2009. Low kept records of the bribes, including spreadsheets and deposit slips. The same article also shares that NLB became the biggest customer of the three companies with the statutory board procuring almost SG$6 million in digital resources from them. 

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