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SINGAPORE, April 21 — A 38-year-old woman today became the second public servant within a week to be charged with leaking classified information in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Noorain Jubli and her husband Khairul Annuar Zakaria, 39, were each given two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Noorain worked as the personal assistant to the Singapore Food Agency’s Director-General at the time. Court documents showed that she had access to his email inbox, which contained confidential emails on the management of Covid-19 in Singapore.
She had allegedly taken a photograph of a draft media statement on her computer screen on April 3 last year.
It detailed the implementation of full home-based learning by schools and Institutes of Higher Learning, as well as the closure of pre-schools and student care centres.
The police subsequently received a report that the statement — a joint one by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education — had been leaked to the public before it was officially released. Noorain had been authorised to receive it.
She then purportedly shared it with Khairul through Whatsapp, and he then shared it with his friends, the police said yesterday.
Court documents showed that he sent the image to a WhatsApp chat group named “Geng Shaffri”, comprising 13 members.
Noorain is also accused of taking photos of a list of essential services that would continue operating during the circuit breaker period and sending them to her husband at his request.
Noorain faces two charges of wrongful communication of information. Khairul faces one charge of the same and another of soliciting wrongful communication of information.
The police said yesterday that 16 others who had wrongfully received and further communicated the information downstream will be “administered with written advisories for wrongful communication of information under the OSA”.
The couple told District Judge Marvin Bay that they intend to plead guilty. They will return to court on June 11 and remain out on bail.
If convicted, Noorain and Khairul could be jailed for up to two years and fined up to S$2,000 for each charge.
Last week, the deputy lead of a data management unit started by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was charged with leaking daily coronavirus case numbers 22 times between March and April last year.
Zhao Zheng, a 36-year-old Singaporean, faces 24 charges.
Twenty-two charges relate to her allegedly sending the number of Covid-19 cases to a WeChat group comprising 49 other members, before MOH officially released the information to the public. — TODAY