31 workers at Mandai crematorium, funeral companies warned over red packet practice

31 workers at Mandai crematorium, funeral companies warned over red packet practice

Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium
Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium in Singapore. (Photo: Anne-Marie Lim)

SINGAPORE: The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Thursday (Sep 19) said that it issued warnings to 17 workers at the Mandai crematorium found to have been receiving red packets from employees of funeral services companies in return for giving the latter preferential treatment. 

The 14 funeral services workers implicated were also given warnings. 

In a press release, CPIB said NEA alerted it to the red packet practice in October 2018, after receiving a complaint. 

The Environmental Health Attendants who were working at Mandai crematorium, were each given a "stern warning" for one count of corruptly accepting gratification from funeral directors and hearse drivers as an inducement to smoothen the cremation process, said the authorities. 

The workers, who were from the National Environment Agency (NEA) also faced departmental disciplinary action for violation of the Public Service Instruction Manual, which states that public officers are not allowed to accept gifts and entertainment on account of their official position or work.

Two NEA senior officers received departmental disciplinary action as well for failing to report the red packet practice even though they had been "fully aware of it". 

Of the 14 funeral service workers, 12 were given stern warnings for a count each of corruptly giving gratification in the form of a red packet to an NEA agent as an inducement to smoothen the cremation process at the crematorium. 

The other two were given stern warnings for one count each of abetting in the offence. 

"The CPIB would like to emphasise that the Bureau evaluates all complaints and information it receives seriously, regardless of the value or nature of gratification involved in order to determine whether corruption offences are made out," the authorities said. 

"Each case must be assessed on its own merits to determine if it is a case of corruption. A gift given innocently and without any corrupt intention is not considered corruption. 

"However, if a gift is given or received with a view to secure, or to reciprocate with, for example an unfair advantage, it may be corruption," they added.

CPIB also "strongly advised" the public not to give gifts or entertainment to public officers in return for favours as that would constitute a corrupt act. 

Source: CNA/nr(hs)