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Current, former Singapore transit employees charged in $7.3 million cheating scheme

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Current and former employees of Singapore's SMRT were charged in court on Friday of duping the transit operator into awarding millions of dollars of contracts to companies in which they had a financial interest.

The charges come after a string of mishaps on the transit system - including a collision last month that injured several people - that has led to public anger in a city-state long known for its efficient public services.

A current line manager at SMRT Trains Ltd, two former employees and a director of a Singapore construction company were charged with "cheating offences" that allegedly took place during 2007 to 2012 and involved contracts amounting to nearly S$9.8 million ($7.3 million), Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement.

Under Singapore law, cheating is punishable with up to 10 years in jail and fines.

One of the accused absconded to Malaysia in 2013 and was brought back to face charges in Singapore with the help of Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Commission, CPIB said.

SMRT Trains Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of SMRT Corp Ltd. SMRT Corp is fully controlled by state investor Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd [TEM.UL].

SMRT Corp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by John Geddie and Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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