Corruption cases registered for investigation at 'all-time low': CPIB

Corruption cases registered for investigation at 'all-time low': CPIB

SINGAPORE: The number of corruption cases registered for investigation in Singapore fell to an "all-time low" last year of 103, down from 118 the year before, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said on Wednesday (Apr 11).

CPIB received a total of 368 corruption-related complaints in 2017 - a 17.7 per cent drop from the 447 complaints in 2016. These are evaluated by the Complaints Evaluation Committee and a case is registered for investigation "if the information received is pursuable", authorities said. 

"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," said CPIB. 

The majority of complaints received last year was from the e-Complaint module on the CPIB website. Feedback via this channel increased 8 per cent from 34 per cent in 2016, when most complaints were by mail or fax. 

Nevertheless, complaints lodged in person remained the "most effective as the CPIB could obtain more detailed information from the complainants"; these accounted for 23 per cent of the cases registered for investigation. 

CPIB said it takes a "serious view of all complaints with an undertone of corruption" and strongly encouraged the public to report any suspected acts. It also offered a guide on the kind of information one should 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?

Statistics showed that private sector cases continued to form the majority of corruption cases, though the number remained low. Of these cases, 10 per cent involved public sector employees rejecting bribes offered by private individuals. 

CPIB said the majority of individuals prosecuted in court were from the private sector. In 2017, 141 individuals were charged in court for offences investigated by the CPIB, of which 94 per cent were private sector employees. The number of private sector individuals prosecuted increased by 32 per cent to 132, as compared to 100 in 2016.

Authorities highlighted, however, that this increase was mainly due to cases involving multiple accused persons and not because of a jump in the number of cases.   

They also named three areas that "continued to be of concern" - construction, wholesale and retail businesses, and warehousing, transport and logistics services - singling out high-profile cases such as the Keppel Offshore and Marine (KOM) overseas bribery

"The KOM case highlights that while corruption in Singapore remains low, there is a need for constant vigilance and a firm stance against corrupt practices that extends beyond Singapore’s shores," said CPIB. 

In contrast, the number of public sector employees prosecuted remained low at an average of less than 10 per cent for the last three years, with only nine such instances recorded last year. 

Source: CNA/hs