SINGAPORE: An Indian-origin delivery driver was on Monday sentenced to 30 months in jail for stealing meat products worth more than SGD 170,000 while working with a wholesale distributor. Sivam Karuppan (42) sold the stolen meat to a customer and pocketed the sales proceeds for himself and another colleague working with the distributor, Chee Song Foods, TODAY newspaper reported.
A case against his colleague is yet to go to court. The duo’s nationality was not stated in the report.
Karuppan’s co-accused, also an Indian-origin, is Neshan Gunasundram (27), who was employed by the company as a warehouse supervisor.
Gunasundram’s role was to supervise the flow of goods in and out of the warehouse, including instructing other workers on the correct quantity of meat products for loading and delivery to customers.
In 2021, Karuppan made small talk with a staff member of one of the company’s customers, GV Meat Distributor, around May.
The man then asked if Karuppan had extra meat to be sold at a cheaper price. He offered to pay Karuppan directly to buy the meat. The two conspired to steal meat products from the company and directly sell it to the customer, splitting the proceeds between themselves.
The court heard that on 34 occasions, between Jan 4 and July 15 in 2022, Karuppan had liaised with the customer, who would tell him the amount of meat that he needed.
Karuppan relayed this information to Gunasundram.
Whenever the customer placed an order with the company, Gunasundram allegedly instructed other workers to load onto Karuppan’s delivery truck the quantities ordered, together with the extra meat products ordered directly through Karuppan.
Court documents showed that Karuppan and Gunasundram allegedly stole meat products worth SGD 170,059.77 in total.
On July 23, 2022, the company’s operations and logistics manager Eddie Loh lodged a police report against them after conducting internal investigations.
Loh had been notified of rumours that meat products had been stolen from the company’s warehouse, because there were irregularities between the quantity of products ordered by customers and the actual quantity loaded for delivery.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ronnie Ang sought a jail sentence of 32 to 38 months for Karuppan’s offences, saying that he had “abused the trust of his employer”.
DPP Ang added that the amount of meat products was significant and that the offence had taken place for an extended period of time.
Defence counsel Foo Ho Chew of HC Law Practice said that Karuppan has been living in hardship, sleeping at bus stops and void decks.
For committing theft as a servant, Karuppan could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.