In quite possibly the first case of its kind, a former factory manager was fined $8,000 and ordered to pay a further penalty of $4,030 for corruption. Toh Phoo Chye, 46, had obtained Nokia mobile phones from foreign workers in exchange for recommending to the management to renew their work permits.

This case was reported in the Straits Times Breaking News portal on 16 November 2012.

Toh, who was then working for Polybuilding, a company in Tuas Avenue 11, admitted to getting a $700 cellphone from two Indian nationals at Jurong Point on a day in February 2006, and a $750 phone from two Bangladeshi nationals at the company premises on a day in January 2007.

As detailed in court, the company’s procedure was that when the work permits of foreign workers were about to expire, the financial controller of Polybuilding would email Toh to seek his recommendation. He would then verbally or through email reply on his recommendation. Toh was said to have  called for a number of meetings with foreign workers, telling them that they ought to give mobile phones to their supervisors to show their gratitude for renewing their work permits. When some workers indicated they could not afford the phones, Toh told them that they could team up in pairs to buy the mobile phones.

Four other similar charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.