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Singapore

No reason to debar ST Marine from patrol boats tender based on CPIB investigations: Indranee Rajah

The Second Minister for Finance says the charges and convictions against former senior ST Marine executives in 2017 are separate and distinct from the company itself.

No reason to debar ST Marine from patrol boats tender based on CPIB investigations: Indranee Rajah

Ms Indranee Rajah speaking in Parliament on Monday (Apr 1).

SINGAPORE: There must be a “nexus” relating to government-related contracts before debarment can be recommended and applied, which is why ST Marine’s winning of the tender to build 12 patrol boats for the Police Coast Guard was allowed, said Second Finance Minister Indranee Rajah on Monday (Apr 1).

Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera had asked Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament why his ministry’s Standing Committee on Debarment (SCOD) did not extend the disbarment of companies from tendering for government contracts to cases where the companies or their senior executives had been convicted of corruption in private sector contracts.

In response, Ms Indranee said corruption is an offence, and companies or individuals who are convicted of the offence will be penalised through the legal system.

Debarment from participation in government contracts, is a “separate and distinct exercise” from court proceedings and serves a different purpose, she said.

“Debarment is an administrative procedure by the Government to protect the Government's interest as a service buyer against those who have caused direct harm or losses to the Government. It does not duplicate the court’s function of adjudication or punishment,” she said.

In the case of the former ST Marine executives who were convicted of corruption, Ms Indranee said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigations “did not reveal any connection to the government agency or contract, hence the circumstances in which debarment can be recommended under the policy parameters did not arise”.

She noted that for the case against the former executives, their offences dated between 2000 and 2011, which meant the most recent case was eight years ago. They had also ceased to be employed by ST Marine between 2004 and 2014.

"ST Marine, which is a separate legal entity, did not have any charges or convictions against it," Ms Indranee added.

A new board of directors for ST Marine was also appointed as of Aug 15, 2018, while the Police Coast Guard tender was awarded in November that year, she added.

Source: CNA/kk(mn)

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