Response to forum letter - “Govt should disclose status of probe into Keppel O&M corruption scandal, enact harsher penalties for bribery acts”

Response to TODAY Voices Letter “Govt should disclose status of probe into Keppel O&M corruption scandal, enact harsher penalties for bribery acts” 
 

We refer to Mr Sattar Bawany’s letter, “Govt should disclose status of probe into Keppel O&M corruption scandal, enact harsher penalties for bribery acts” (TODAY, 20 January 2021).

The corruption situation in Singapore is firmly under control. The number of corruption related reports received by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has been on a downward trend for the last five years.

Singapore is well-regarded by the international community for its incorruptibility and clean public service.

Our consistent ranking in the last decade as one of the world’s top 10 least corrupt nations by Transparency International is a testimonial to this hard-earned reputation.

In the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking by Transparency International, Singapore was placed fourth out of 180 countries, with a score of 85.

Similarly, Singapore has also been ranked top least corrupt country in Asia by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, a position we have maintained since 1995.

Singapore’s corruption control framework remains effective in combating corruption.

The strong political will coupled with the public’s zero tolerance towards corruption as well as the tough anti-corruption laws are critical contributing factors to the low corruption rate here.

There are stiff punishments and heavy penalties for corruption under Singapore’s Prevention of Corruption Act.

Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, or to both.

The maximum imprisonment term for each offence of corruption can be increased to seven years if it is in relation to a matter or contract with the Government or public body.

Section 13 of the Act provides for additional penalties on top of the fine, whereby the court shall order those convicted of accepting corrupt gratification to pay a penalty equal to the amount of gratification.

This significantly enhances the total financial penalties for corrupt offenders.

This was applied in a recent overseas bribery case where the receiver of bribes was convicted and given a custodial sentence and a penalty of more than S$2.3 million.

In cases involving international jurisdictions, the progress of investigations is highly dependent on the extent of cooperation and assistance provided by the relevant foreign authorities.

In this case, the assistance provided by the foreign authorities was invaluable.

We understand the writer’s concerns on the progress of the Keppel O&M case. However, we cannot comment or provide status updates on ongoing cases so as to protect the integrity of investigations, which are confidential in nature and to avoid prejudicing any prosecutorial decision that might follow.

We assure the letter writer and the public that the CPIB remains resolute and committed to combat corruption and CPIB will not hesitate to take offenders to task.
 

Mr Shawn Chew
Assistant Director (Corporate Relations)
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau

Last updated: 29 Jan 2021