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SINGAPORE, April 14 — A civil servant who had allegedly leaked the numbers of new daily Covid-19 cases on 22 occasions last year will be charged for offences under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the police said yesterday.
A police investigation revealed that the 36-year-old civil servant, who was authorised to receive the information, had allegedly shared the Covid-19 case numbers between March and April last year with members of a chat group.
“Some members of the chat group who were not authorised to receive the information allegedly further disseminated it before the Ministry of Health (MOH) officially released the information,” the police said in a statement.
Another 64 people who were in the private chat group who received or communicated the information without authorisation will be given a stern warning or written advisories for offences under the Act.
The civil servant was found to have also accessed a Government Covid-19 database to retrieve confidential information of a patient who had tested positive for the coronavirus at the request of a member of the chat group, who is also a 36-year-old woman.
The unlawfully obtained information about the patient was then given to the woman.
A police report was made on April 16 by a member of the public who saw that the Covid-19 numbers were allegedly leaked online, even though MOH had not released the figures officially yet, the police said.
Both women will be charged for the offences under the OSA. The civil servant will also face a charge of the Computer Misuse Act for unauthorised access to computer materials.
The police said that they take a serious view of any OSA breach.
The offence of wrongful communication of information under the law carries a S$2,000 fine and up to two years’ jail.
Unauthorised access of computer materials under the Computer Misuse Act can also result in a similar jail term, as well as a S$5,000 fine.
“Unauthorised recipients should delete and not further circulate any confidential information received as they may otherwise be similarly liable under the OSA,” the police said.
Both women will be charged today.
Last April, a 37-year-old public servant and her 38-year-old husband were arrested under the OSA for allegedly leaking a draft press statement on Covid-19 school closures before it was officially announced.
Two months after that, the police arrested a 50-year-old public servant under the Act for allegedly sharing information via a private WhatsApp chat about the Government’s plans after Singapore’s partial lockdown. — TODAY