SINGAPORE: A senior prison officer has been found guilty of stealing S$406 (approximately US$304) from an inmate being released from Selarang Park Complex (SPC) in November two years ago.
Mohamed Rahadian Mohamed Kassim, 49, now faces charges of criminal breach of trust and perverting the course of justice after a trial that concluded on Thursday (1 Feb).
The court heard that Rahadian, holding the rank of Chief Warder 2 and employed as an offender administration officer at the time, was entrusted with around 10 Ziploc bags containing cash meant to be returned to inmates being released on 18 November 2022.
However, he pocketed one bag containing S$406 before summoning the inmate, known as Nasarudin, into the room.
Nasarudin, who had S$3,306 upon admission to prison, only received S$2,900 upon his release, noticing a discrepancy in the denominations of the bills returned to him.
Despite the shortfall, Nasarudin didn’t raise immediate concerns, assuming the remaining notes might be in another bag.
It wasn’t until he counted the cash after being escorted to HarbourFront Centre by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers that the discrepancy was discovered and reported.
Rahadian attempted to cover up the theft by laundering the stolen cash in his trousers before falsely claiming it was a mistake to his superiors.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Janice See revealed that Rahadian intentionally washed and dried the cash to make it seem as though it had been mistakenly placed in his pocket.
Further complicating matters, Rahadian slid the stolen $406 between empty polymer bags in the area designated for returning inmates’ belongings the next day.
Fortunately, the money was eventually discovered and returned to Nasarudin on 22 November 2022.
DPP highlights impact on the integrity of law enforcement agencies
Closed-circuit television footage unveiled that Rahadian had handled Nasarudin’s money on the day the inmate was discharged.
However, Rahadian initially denied taking the money in his statement to the police on 30 December 2022, only admitting to his offences the following day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) See, seeking a jail term of four to six months, emphasized that Rahadian had committed an offence against a particularly vulnerable victim.
She highlighted that the victim, relying on prison officers for physical safety and the safekeeping of personal belongings during incarceration, was adversely affected by Rahadian’s actions.
Furthermore, DPP See underscored that Rahadian’s offences had a detrimental impact on the integrity of law enforcement agencies.
“He had taken advantage of his position as a prison officer and committed the offences while carrying out his duties,” she said.
In a written mitigation plea, defence lawyer Gino Hardial Singh from Abbots Chambers argued that Rahadian did not personally benefit from the money, and the harm caused was minimal as the funds were eventually returned.
Singh added that Rahadian, who lost his job after 25 years with the Singapore Prison Service due to the case, is undergoing a divorce.
“Save for his offences, which stem from an inexplicable one-off lapse of judgment, Rahadian has an unblemished and stellar record of service,” Mr Singh added.
Another charge against Rahadian, involving giving false information to a police officer, will be considered during his sentencing on 16 February.
For criminal breach of trust, an offender can face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years and a fine.
In the case of perverting the course of justice, the offender can be sentenced to a maximum of seven years in jail and fined.
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