Public Vigilance Critical In Fighting Corruption
Corruption Situation in Singapore Remains Firmly Under Control
The corruption situation in Singapore remains firmly under control. The number of corruption-related reports received by CPIB, as well as the number of cases registered for investigation remained low. In 2022, CPIB received 234 corruption-related reports, a 6% decrease from the 249 corruption-related reports received in 2021. Of these, CPIB registered 83 reports as new cases for investigation in 2022, which was the same number as 2021. This constituted 35% of the total number of corruption-related reports received in 2022, a slight increase compared to the preceding four years (Figure 1). A report is registered for investigation if the information received is pursuable. This is determined by the quality of relevant information provided. Investigative enquiries and intelligence probes by CPIB also uncovered further information that enabled a higher percentage of reports to be registered for investigation.
2. CPIB treats all reports received seriously regardless of whether the complainant is named or anonymous. Of the 234 corruption-related reports received in 2022, 100 (43%) were anonymous. We assess these reports based on the merits of the information provided. Of the 83 cases registered for investigation in 2022, 13 (16%) were from anonymous sources.
Number of Public Sector Cases Remained Low
3. In 2022, most of the cases registered for investigation (Figure 2) were from the private sector (86%, 71 cases) with 14% of these (10 cases) involving public sector employees rejecting bribes offered by private sector individuals. 1 Public sector cases accounted for 14% of all cases registered for investigation in 2022. The number of public sector cases registered remained low (12 cases), comparable to the annual average (11 cases) of the preceding four years.
Majority of Individuals Prosecuted in Court were from the Private Sector
4. In 2022, 152 individuals were prosecuted in Court for offences investigated by CPIB. Of these, 97% (148) were private sector individuals while the remaining 3% (4) were public sector employees.
High Clearance Rate Maintained
5. CPIB maintained a high clearance rate 2 , completing investigation into 85% of subjects investigated in 2022 (Figure 3).
High Conviction Rate for CPIB Cases
6. The conviction rate for CPIB cases in 2022 stood at 99%, a slight improvement from the preceding two years (Figure 4). The consistently high conviction rate for CPIB cases is testament to the quality of the Bureau’s investigation to be able to stand up to scrutiny in Court, as well as the close working relationship between CPIB and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in bringing corrupt offenders to task.
Improvement in Public Perception of our National Corruption Control Efforts
7. According to a biennial Public Perception Survey commissioned by CPIB 3 , public perception of our national corruption control efforts has improved over the past three surveys. In the 2022 survey, 96% of respondents rated corruption control efforts in Singapore as Good, Very Good or Excellent, up from 94% in 2020, 92% in 2018, and 90% in 2016. Political determination to keep corruption under control, heavy punishment for corruption offences, and a zero-tolerance culture for corruption were cited as the top three most important factors contributing to the low corruption rate in Singapore. 89% of survey respondents felt that willingness of the public to report corruption was also critical to the fight against corruption.
A Vigilant Public is Critical to the Fight Against Corruption
8. Central to the fight against corruption is a vigilant public that is prepared to do its part to uphold the value of incorruptibility. CPIB is grateful to all members of the public who have come forward to the Bureau with information on any suspected wrongdoing, including anonymous reports. This enables CPIB to uncover and investigate offences with potentially far-reaching consequences if left unchecked.
Case 1 – Corruption Involving NTUC FairPrice Employees
In 2020, CPIB received information from a member of the public alleging that Lim Kian Kok (Lim), a Senior Team Leader of NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Ltd (NTUC FairPrice) at the material time, had been purchasing significantly more fish from Ngow Chun Siong (Ngow), an employee with Fish Vision Agro-tech Pte Ltd (Fish Vision). In return, Ngow would pay for Lim’s entertainment expenses.
CPIB’s investigations found that Lim and his subordinate, See Hock Lam (See) obtained gratification amounting to about S$523,000 from various fish suppliers between 2013 and 2020 in exchange for procuring more fish and seafood from these suppliers, including Fish Vision, on behalf of NTUC FairPrice. The ill-gotten gains were split between Lim and See.
Both Lim and See pleaded guilty to their offences. Lim was sentenced to four years and five months’ jail, and ordered to pay a penalty of $289,843.10, while See was sentenced to three years and two months’ jail, and ordered to pay a penalty of S$261,500.
To support NTUC FairPrice in enhancing its anti-corruption measures, CPIB introduced NTUC FairPrice to the Singapore Standard (SS) ISO37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems and the PACT: A Practical Anti-Corruption Guide for Businesses in Singapore. The FairPrice Group (which represents NTUC FairPrice) has also come onboard CPIB’s Anti-Corruption Partnership Network 4 .
Case 2 - Investigation Against Enforcement Officers Attached to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for Misappropriating Prohibited Tobacco Products, Including Electronic Vaporiser
In 2021, CPIB received an anonymous complaint alleging that a group of HSA enforcement officers were pilfering prohibited tobacco products that they were supposed to dispose of at Tuas Incineration Plant.
Acting on the complaint, the Bureau mounted Operation CandyCrush against Certis Cisco officers performing such duties. Investigations revealed that at least 16 Certis Cisco officers had either misappropriated contraband cigarettes and vaping devices, or received these items from their colleagues who had misappropriated them in the course of their duties. These contraband items were either seized in the course of their enforcement work, or taken from contraband items at Changi Airport that were meant to be sent to Tuas Incineration Plant for destruction.
Of these officers, six Certis Cisco enforcement officers attached to HSA were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment ranging from two weeks to three months.
CPIB shared timely case-related details with HSA, Singapore Customs, and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) so that they could review their processes to prevent pilferage of contrabands. Feedback was also provided by CPIB to the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD).
Case 3 – Investigation Against Senior Management of Engineering Firm Starburst
In 2020, CPIB received information from an anonymous source that Yap Tin Foo (Yap), Director of Starburst Engineering Pte Ltd (Starburst) was alleged to have given bribes in the form of entertainment and travel expenses to Tan Keng Liong (Tan), Vice-President of Jurong Primewide Pte Ltd (Jurong Primewide) for advancing the business interest of Starburst with Jurong Primewide.
Investigations revealed that Yap gave gratification in the form of entertainment and travel expenses of about $14,700 to Tan in 2011. At the material period of offence, Starburst was a subcontractor of Jurong Primewide for the supply and installation of ballistic protection system under a Multi-Mission Range Complex (MMRC) project that had been awarded to Jurong Primewide by Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA).
Investigations also revealed that Edward Lim Chin Wah (Lim), Director of Starburst, had allegedly instigated an officer of Starburst to issue falsified subcontracts to G-Cube Engineering Pte Ltd (Starburst’s subcontractor). Yap then allegedly instigated an officer of G-Cube to generate false invoices based on the falsified subcontracts to Starburst to seek payment amounting to S$552,200 for works that were never carried out.
In addition, CPIB found confidential documents prepared by CPG Consultants Pte Ltd for the Ministry of Home Affair’s Home Team Tactical Centre (HTTC) in Yap’s possession. Investigations showed that these documents were given to Yap by Gerald Lim Lee Meng (Gerald), Vice President of CPG Consultants Pte Ltd.
On 5 August 2022, Yap and Edward were charged in Court for alleged corruption and falsification of accounts offences. Their cases are currently before the Court. Tan and Gerald were also charged and pleaded guilty to corruption offences and an offence under Official Secrets Act respectively. Tan was sentenced in December 2022 to 3 months and 2 weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay a penalty of $14,699.62 for corruption. Gerald was sentenced in April 2023 to a fine of $1,800 for breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Being a major player in the local ballistic industry, Starburst was involved in several government-related projects.
9. CPIB takes a tough stance against public officers who abuse their authority for self-gratification. The following case demonstrates the strong co-operation between the Bureau and agencies within the Public Service to weed out errant officers.
Case 4 – Errant Police Full-Time National Serviceman (NSF) Who Attempted to Obtain Sexual Gratification By Misusing Warrant Card
In 2022, CPIB received information from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) alleging that a Police NSF deployed at Orchard Neighbourhood Police Centre, Fahd Siddiqui (Fahd), had misused his warrant card while off-duty in his attempt to corruptly obtain sexual services from three social escorts. This was in return for not taking enforcement action against them.
Prompt action by the SPF enabled CPIB to secure interviews with the social escorts involved, before they left Singapore. It also allowed CPIB to quickly retrieve CCTV footages from two hotels before they were overwritten by new recordings. Fahd was charged in Court on 24 November 2022 for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and subsequently pleaded guilty to his offences. Fahd’s sentencing is still pending.
Co-creation with the Community to Enhance Prevention and Outreach Efforts
10. In the past year, CPIB has continued to step up our corruption prevention and outreach work. We worked closely with various community stakeholders to co-create corruption prevention initiatives.
Partnering the Private Sector – Anti-Corruption Partnership Network
11. The Anti-Corruption Partnership Network (ACPN) was established by CPIB in 2018 to promote ownership of corruption prevention within the private sector. In 2023, the ACPN membership was expanded to 70 entities to include selected auditing and consultancy firms, as well as more professional bodies and industry associations. On 31 March 2023, CPIB organised an ACPN event in partnership with OCBC Bank with the theme of “Fighting Corruption Together - Cultivating a Culture of Anti-Corruption and Integrity”. Speakers and panelists representing OCBC Bank, Bosch Singapore, Grant Thornton Singapore, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, and CPIB shared views on inculcating a culture of anti-corruption and integrity in the private sector. More than 120 participants attended the event.
Co-creating Anti-Corruption Educational Resources with Students
12. CPIB partnered students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) School of Design and Media to co-create an animated mini-series entitled Kopi’s Case Files. Developed for pre-schoolers and children in lower Primary, the two-episode animated series champions important values such as honesty, fairness, and integrity in a fun and appealing way. CPIB also forged a tripartite partnership with NYP and Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Media, Arts and Design School to introduce original song and music compositions with anti-corruption themes in upcoming episodes of the animated series. Available for viewing on CPIB’s YouTube channel, the animated series is part of an anti-corruption educational kit for young children which also includes other resources such as illustrated picture books and activities co-created with students from St Joseph’s Institution. The Bureau is currently exploring partnerships with educators and preschools to disseminate this resource to young children, teachers, and parents.
Collaborating with Media – Mediacorp Anti-Corruption Documentary Series
13. CPIB collaborated with Mediacorp’s Chinese News and Current Affairs Group on a Chinese documentary series to educate the public on the pitfalls of corruption and reinforce Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach. Aired in August and September 2022, the four-part documentary series “贪婪深渊 (Abyss of Greed)” featured significant cases that CPIB had investigated over the years, interviews with CPIB officers, as well as commentators from related fields. The documentary series emphasised the Bureau’s resolve and relentless pursuit to bring corrupt perpetrators to justice. The documentary series was well-received by the public and achieved several international accolades. These included winning a gold and silver award at the World Media Festivals Television & Corporate Media Awards 2023, and Finalist honours at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards 2023.
14. The corruption situation in Singapore remains firmly under control. CPIB deeply values the important contributions of our partners in the community to advance our shared goal of combating corruption. The Bureau is also grateful for the constant vigilance by members of the public against corruption, especially those who have come forward with reports of wrongdoing. Together, we will continue to keep Singapore corruption-free.
 Public sector employees who rejected bribes in 2022 comprised officers from the Singapore Police Force, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, the Land Transport Authority and the National Environment Agency.
 Clearance rate refers to the total number of subjects whom CPIB has completed investigation on, out of the total number of subjects investigated by CPIB in the year.
 CPIB engages an independent research company every two years to gauge public perception on corruption and the Bureau. The survey is conducted with approximately 1,000 individuals representative of the Singapore population profile.
 The Anti-Corruption Partnership Network (ACPN) was established by CPIB in 2018 to promote ownership of corruption prevention within the private sector. The Network also provides a platform for members to share best practices.
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau