Singapore continues to see a low incidence of corruption. The number of new cases registered for investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) remained low and is consistent with the trends in previous years. Private sector cases continue to form the majority of CPIB’s investigation. Singapore remains well-regarded internationally for our anti-corruption efforts. In the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI-CPI) 2018, Singapore was ranked the third least corrupt country out of 180 countries and territories.
While Singapore has done well in our fight against corruption, there is no room for complacency.
Corruption Situation in Singapore Firmly under Control
The number of corruption-related reports received by the CPIB over the past five years and the corresponding number of new cases registered for investigation are shown in Figure 1 above. The percentage of new cases registered for investigation relative to the number of corruption-related reports received has been consistent at around 30% annually. In 2018, the CPIB received 358 corruption-related reports, a 3% dip from the 368 corruption-related reports received in 2017. The CPIB registered 107 new cases for investigation in 2018, a 4% increase compared to the year before.
A report is registered for investigation if the information received is pursuable. This is determined by the specificity and quality of relevant information provided. Non-pursuable corruption reports are those with vague or unsubstantiated information which did not provide sufficient leads for investigation to be initiated by the CPIB. For non-corruption related reports received by the CPIB, they would be referred to the relevant government agencies for action, where applicable.
Reports Made in Person Remain the Most Effective Mode
There are different modes through which members of the public may report suspected acts of corruption to the CPIB. They can do so in person or via our phone hotline, email, the CPIB website, or mail/fax. While more than half the corruption-related reports received by the CPIB in 2018 came via our website or through mail/fax (52%), they accounted for only 14% of the cases registered for investigation (Figure 2). On the other hand, corruption-related reports lodged in person (11% of all the corruption-related reports received) accounted for one-fifth of the cases registered for investigation in 2018. This meant that more than 55% of corruption-related reports lodged in person resulted in investigation. Other than referrals from other agencies, reports lodged in person remained the most effective mode (for receiving corruption-related reports) as the CPIB could obtain more detailed information directly from the complainant.
The CPIB takes a serious view of all reports and information that may disclose any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. They are thoroughly deliberated regardless of the nature or amount of gratification, or whether the complainant is named or anonymous.
Private Sector Cases Continued to form the Majority of Corruption Cases
Cases involving private sector individuals continued to form the majority, or 88%, of all the new cases registered for investigation by the CPIB in 2018. Of these, 15% involved public sector employees rejecting bribes offered by private sector individuals. The proportion of public sector cases remained low, accounting for 12% of all cases registered for investigation in 2018. (Figure 3).
Private Sector Individuals Constitute Majority of Individuals Prosecuted in Court
Private sector individuals constituted the majority of individuals prosecuted in Court. In 2018, 112 individuals were charged in Court for offences investigated by the CPIB. Of these, 96% were private sector individuals (Figure 4). Five public sector employees were prosecuted in Court in 2018. The number of public sector employees prosecuted in Court remained low, typically making up 4-6% of the total number of individuals prosecuted. Custodial sentences continued to be meted out to individuals convicted of corruption offences.
The profile of private sector employees prosecuted in Court for corruption-related offences in 2018, highlights two main areas of concern. They are construction activities and building maintenance work. Corruption in construction activities generally involves building construction, work safety and inspection of construction work. The other area of concern is building maintenance work, such as water leakage repair, air-conditioning maintenance, painting works, and building maintenance-related inspections.
Clearance Rate Remained Consistently High
The CPIB has consistently achieved a high annual clearance rate, completing investigations into 80% of the number of subjects investigated in 2018 (Figure 5).
High Conviction Rate1 for CPIB Cases
The conviction rate remained high, averaging 98% over the past five years (Figure 6).
Anti-Corruption Efforts Highly Regarded Internationally
Singapore is well-regarded internationally for our anti-corruption work, and has gained a strong reputation as one of the world’s least corrupt countries.
In 2018, Transparency International ranked Singapore in joint 3rd position (alongside Finland, Sweden and Switzerland) out of 180 countries and territories with a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score of 85. This was Singapore’s best ranking since 2010, and our best score since 2015. We remained the only Asian country in the top 10 ranking.
The CPI scores and ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be. The 2018 CPI is a composite index aggregating 13 data sources on governance and business climate analysis. 180 countries and territories were scored on a scale of zero, for highly corrupt, to 100, for very clean.
In the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)’s 2018 Report on Corruption in Asia, Singapore was also rated the least corrupt country in the region, an accolade we have maintained since 1995.
1The conviction rate excludes withdrawals.
2There are 12 countries listed in the table due to joint rankings.