Singapore is well known for its clean and incorrupt system. The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 has ranked Singapore as the 6th least corrupt country in the world. Singapore has also maintained its first-place in the 2017 Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) annual survey on corruption.
At the opening of CPIB’s Corruption Reporting and Heritage Centre (CRHC) in June 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore’s progress depends on keeping the country clean and corruption-free. The courts, the Government and public servants must continue to uphold the highest levels of professionalism and integrity while the public also plays an important role to maintain our social norms to eschew corruption. Our founding leaders left us a clean system, built up over more than half a century. It is a legacy that we should be proud of and do our utmost to protect.
Complaints Received by CPIB and Cases Registered for Investigation Remain Low
In 2017, CPIB received a total of 778 complaints, a 3.7% drop from the 808 complaints received in 2016 (Figure 1). All corruption complaints received by the CPIB are evaluated by the Complaints Evaluation Committee (CEC), and a case is registered for investigation if the information received is pursuable. The number of cases registered for investigation by the CPIB also fell slightly from 118 cases in 2016 to 103 cases in 2017, which is a new all-time low.
Figure 1: Number of Complaints Received by CPIB vs Cases Registered for Investigation
The complaints received by the CPIB were both corruption-related and non-corruption-related. For the past three years, about half the complaints received by the CPIB were corruption-related. In 2017, there was a drop of 17.7% in the number of corruption-related complaints to 368, from 447 in 2016. The quality and amount of relevant information of the corruption complaint received determine whether the case can be pursued. The majority of non-pursuable corruption complaints were due to insufficient, vague or unsubstantiated information provided. For non-corruption related complaints, the CPIB will refer them to the relevant government agencies for action, if applicable.
What to include in a corruption complaint:
Where, when and how did the alleged corrupt act happen?
Who was involved and what were their roles?
How did you know about it?
Why do you think it is a corruption offence?
What is the bribe transacted or favour shown?
Have you reported the matter to anyone else or/and any other authorities?
Private Sector Cases Continue to Form the Majority of Corruption Cases but the Number Remains Low
In 2017, private sector cases continued to form the majority (92%) of all the cases registered for investigation by the CPIB although the number remained low. Of the private sector cases, 10% involved public sector employees rejecting bribes offered by private individuals. The proportion of public sector cases remained low, accounting for 8% of all cases registered for investigation in 2017, as compared to 15% in 2016 (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Breakdown of the Cases Registered for Investigation by Private vs Public Sector
Majority of Individuals Prosecuted in Court were from the Private Sector
There is no significant trend in the number of individuals prosecuted for offences investigated by the CPIB over the past three years. In 2017, 141 individuals were charged in court for offences investigated by the CPIB, of which private sector employees made up 94% (Figure 3). The number of private sector individuals prosecuted increased by 32% to 132, as compared to 100 in 2016. However, this increase was mainly due to cases involving multiple accused persons who were charged in court in 2017 and not because of an increase in the number of cases. In terms of punishment for private sector corruption, custodial sentences continued to be meted out to the majority of private individuals for their corruption offences.
Public sector employees continued to form the minority of individuals prosecuted for corruption. In 2017, nine public sector employees were prosecuted in court. The number of prosecuted public employees remained low at an average of less than 10% for the last three years.
Figure 3: Public and Private Sector Employees Prosecuted in Court
Private sector corruption cases generally involved bribery in exchange for business contracts. Over the last four years, the three areas that continued to be of concern to the CPIB were:
Construction (e.g. building construction, addition and alteration works, renovation);
Wholesale and retail businesses (e.g. supply of drill pipes, drilling equipment, tubular products, plywood, F&B, kitchen equipment, IT products & horticulture).
Warehousing, transport and logistics services (e.g. freight forwarding service, removal service, tour bus service, passenger bus service, transporting chemical products & trucking service).
High Conviction Rate for CPIB Cases
The strong commitment by the CPIB and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to bring corrupt offenders to task has contributed to a consistently high conviction rate for corruption-related offences. The conviction rate for the past three years remained consistently high, above 97% (refer to Table 1 below).
Singapore’s clean and incorrupt system is not a natural state of affairs. While the number of corruption cases in Singapore remains relatively low, there will always be those who will be tempted to break the rules and engage in corrupt practices. The CPIB takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved in such acts. Through our enforcement and public engagement efforts, the CPIB strives to combat corruption effectively, together with an informed community that rejects corruption. To help keep Singapore corruption-free, members of the public who know of or suspect any corrupt behaviour are encouraged to inform the CPIB.
Members of the public can report suspected acts of corruption via the following channels:
Visit or write to us at the CPIB Headquarters @ 2 Lengkok Bahru, S159047 or Corruption Reporting & Heritage Centre @ 247 Whitley Road S297830;
Email us at cpib_website_email [at] cpib.gov.sg; or
Fax us at 6270 0320.
22. The CPIB is also keenly aware that corruption is increasingly transnational in nature. As part of its international cooperation and engagement efforts, the CPIB regularly participates in international platforms which enhance collaboration in tackling the global scourge of corruption. The CPIB also hosts foreign delegates from different parts of the world who are interested to learn about Singapore’s experience in combating corruption.
 The CEC, comprising members of the CPIB Directorate, deliberates on each complaint and decides whether the complaints contain sufficient information for investigation or other follow-up actions.
 The conviction rate in Figure 7 excludes withdrawals.