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Ex-principal jailed for affair cover-up

CONTRACTS FOR LOVER: Koh had awarded $3.4 million worth of contracts to firms run by Ms Loke, from 2005 to 2012.


    Jan 22, 2016

    Ex-principal jailed for affair cover-up

    FORMER River Valley High principal Koh Yong Chiah, who lied about an extramarital affair with a vendor to whom he had awarded millions of dollars in school contracts, was jailed four weeks yesterday.

    The 61-year-old is appealing against the sentence and bail of $15,000 was allowed.

    He had pleaded guilty last month to giving false information to a Ministry of Education (MOE) senior officer.

    Koh, who has been in the service for 35 years and principal of four schools since 1995, lied to cluster superintendent Chia Ban Tin on Nov 24, 2005, that he was not having an affair with school service provider Ivy Loke Wai Lin, 55.

    Ms Chia, who was tasked to inquire into an anonymous complaint against Koh for alleged misconduct, then reported to the director-general of education that there was no such misconduct.

    Koh was then principal of Jurong Junior College (JJC). He later became head of River Valley High in 2009.

    The two met in 2000 while Koh was principal of The Chinese High School and Ms Loke was working for the then Television Corporation of Singapore.

    She had approached the school to take part in an overseas community service project.

    Though both were married, they became attracted to each other and had sex during a service project in Lijiang, China, in March 2001.

    Between May and November 2005, in his capacity as the final approving authority for contracts at JJC, Koh awarded six contracts worth $162,491 to Ms Loke's firm, Education Architects 21 (EA 21). He did not disclose the nature of his relationship with Ms Loke to the quotation approval panel.

    Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu said their intimate relationship lasted till and including the period that Koh was principal of JJC and River Valley High.

    In 2004, she separated from her husband and they divorced a year later.

    Between March 2010 and July 2012 - while at River Valley High - Koh approved the awarding of 39 contracts to Education Incorporation (EI), another of Ms Loke's firms. In all, between 2005 and 2012, he approved $3.4 million worth of contracts to EA 21 and EI.

    The ministry looked into the relationship when it received the complaint in November 2005. Koh, however, denied it when interviewed by Ms Chia, who advised him not to get involved personally with Ms Loke.

    But it did not end there. Seven years later, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) received a tip-off about Koh's involvement in corrupt dealings with Ms Loke.

    Koh is currently suspended from duties. An Education Ministry spokesman said last month: "Educators who fail to comply with our standards of conduct and discipline will be subjected to disciplinary action. For serious cases, they may be dismissed from the service."