In October 2018, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was notified by the National Environment Agency (NEA) of a complaint received by the NEA which alleged that Environmental Health Attendants (EHAs) working in Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium (MCC) have been receiving red packets from employees of Funeral Services Companies (FSCs) in return for giving the latter preferential treatment.
2 The CPIB has completed its investigations, and in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, has administered stern warnings to 17 EHAs and 14 individuals from the FSCs. The 17 EHAs and two Senior Officers also faced departmental disciplinary actions from NEA. The actions taken against the 33 individuals are:
a) 17 Environmental Health Attendants from NEA
i. Each given a stern warning for one count of corruptly accepting gratification from funeral directors and hearse drivers at MCC as an inducement to smoothen the cremation process, an offence under section 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act read with Section 124(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
ii. Faced departmental disciplinary action for violation of the Public Service Instruction Manual (IM) which states that public officers are not allowed to accept gifts and entertainment on account of their official position or official work.
b) 2 Senior Officers from NEA
i. Faced departmental disciplinary action for failing to report such practice even though they were fully aware of it.
c) 14 employees from various Funeral Service Companies
i. Two were given stern warnings for one count each of abetment to corruptly give gratification in the form of a red packet to an agent from NEA as an inducement to smoothen the cremation process at MCC, an offence under section 6(b) read with section 29(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241 and Section 124(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68.
ii. Twelve others were given stern warnings for one count each of corruptly giving gratification in the form of a red packet to an agent from NEA as an inducement to smoothen the cremation process at MCC, an offence under section 6(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act read with Section 124 (4) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
3 The CPIB would like to emphasise that the Bureau evaluates all complaints and information it receives seriously, regardless of the value or nature of gratification involved in order to determine whether corruption offences are made out. Each case must be assessed on its own merits to determine if it is a case of corruption. A gift given innocently and without any corrupt intention is not considered corruption. However, if a gift is given or received with a view to secure, or to reciprocate with, for example an unfair advantage, it may be corruption.
4 The public is strongly advised not to give gifts or entertainment to public officers in return for favours which will constitute a corrupt act and is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.