COVID-19 Quick Test Centre site manager misappropriated 103 boxes of ART kits

COVID-19 Quick Test Centre site manager misappropriated 103 boxes of ART kits

SINGAPORE: When a site manager at a COVID- 19 Quick Test Centre realized that a staff member's miscalculation had resulted in an excess of Antigen Rapid Test ART kits, she wanted to cover it up to avoid problems.

She and her colleague misappropriated 103 boxes of ART kits worth S $14,162. A portion of them was sold for profit on Carousell by the 50.

Deng Xiangying, 28, was sentenced on Friday November 25 to three weeks in jail and ordered to pay S $2,505. She pleaded guilty to a charge of misappropriation and converting the kits to cash.

The court heard that Deng was a site manager at the Tekka Quick Test Centre. Audrey Sau Qi Ng, her co-accused, worked as a swab assistant.

The centre provided ARTs to the public during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Around Sep 19, 2021, Deng realized that an employee at the centre had miscalculated, causing the centre to over-order the number of ART kits that were required from the Health Promotion Board HPB. She was concerned that she and her colleague would be in trouble with HPB and her employer for over-ordering kits.

Deng and Sau decided to bring the extra cartons of ART kits home from the QTC in order to cover up the mistake.

On Sep 19, 2021, Deng and Sau met the sister of Deng outside the Tekka Quick Test Centre.

Deng's sister was there to pick up mooncakes for delivery. Sau was shown in CCTV footage carrying two cartons of ART kits from the test centre, while another colleague carried a third carton out.

The couple dishonestly misappropriated 103 boxes of ART kits.

The goal was to sell the ART kits on Carousell for profit. They used Deng's Carousell account superbaddict to sell the kits.

They sold a box of 25 ART kits for S $100 to S $140 from Sep 29, 2021 to Oct 1, 2021, and provided delivery services for the sale.

The police received a report on October 1, 2021, that Deng and Sau had been selling ART kits from the quick test centre for profit. The court documents did not reveal who made the report.

Deng and Sau sold 44 boxes of ART kits to 19 customers, earning S $5,363 in total. The remaining 59 boxes were recovered during the investigations.

The nature of the offences required some measure of deterrence, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang.

He said that the ART kits were taken at the height of the COVID 19 epidemic, depriving the public of access to these resources.

While we do not dispute that their intention to sell and make a profit was only formed after they misappropriated the kits, the harm done to society is not mitigated by the fact that these kits were taken out of circulation, said Mr Pang.

Defence lawyer Wasiur Rehman said his client did this to help the staff member who made a mistake.

The prosecution's compensation order covered the cost of the ART kits that were not recovered, with the cost split between Deng and Sau.

Sau's case is pending.