SINGAPORE: The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Thursday (Apr 22) said that it received 239 corruption-related reports last year, a five-year low and a drop of 32 per cent compared to 2019.
“The corruption situation in Singapore remains firmly under control,” CPIB said in its annual report.
The agency said that the COVID-19 pandemic may have played a role in the decline in reports it received in 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a sharp fall in economic activities in the private sector, could have led to a significant dip in the number of corruption-related reports received by CPIB,” it said.
Of the 239 reports received, 81 were registered for investigation, and 86 per cent of these – 70 cases – were in the private sector. A report is registered for investigation “if the information received is pursuable”, CPIB said.
The remaining 11 cases registered last year were in the public sector, which CPIB said is comparable to the annual average of 13 cases in the preceding four years.
Of the 70 private sector cases, 9 per cent involved public sector employees rejecting bribes from individuals in the private sector.
The 81 cases registered for investigation in 2020 marked a drop of 32 per cent from the 119 registered in 2019.
“Nevertheless, the percentage of corruption-related reports registered for investigation in 2020 was 34 per cent, higher than the annual average of 30 per cent over the preceding four years,” CPIB said.
READ: Man jailed for trying to bribe police officer into not taking action against him for COVID-19 breach
Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CPIB was able to complete investigations into 87 per cent of the subjects it investigated in 2020, a higher rate than in each of the previous four years.
In total, 129 people were prosecuted in court in 2020 for offences investigated by CPIB – 126 in the private sector and three in the public sector. The conviction rate of CPIB cases in 2020 was 97 per cent, excluding withdrawals.
“The consistently high conviction rate for CPIB cases is testament to the strong commitment of CPIB and the Attorney-General’s Chambers in bringing corrupt offenders to task,” the agency said.
READ: Investigating officer jailed for obtaining sexual gratification from women involved in his cases
In a statement, CPIB Director Denis Tang noted that Singapore has managed to keep corruption low in spite of the pandemic, and said that CPIB continues to take steps to boost its operations.
“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore continues to maintain its low corruption level and good international standing as one of the least corrupt nations in the world. This requires our constant vigilance and resolute determination to keep corruption at bay,” he said.
“CPIB is committed to forging closer partnerships with the community and expanding our operational capabilities to ensure that Singapore remains clean and corruption-free.”
Transparency International ranked Singapore third out of 180 countries in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index.
"Singapore’s corruption control would not be as effective without strong public support and involvement," CPIB said.
"CPIB is grateful to the community and other stakeholders for their efforts in fighting corruption alongside with CPIB."