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Alfrescian (Inf)

Court acquits lawyer and MP Christopher de Souza of professional misconduct charge​


The decision by the Court of Three Judges came after the Law Society argued for Mr Christopher de Souza to be suspended for 4 years. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Selina Lum
Senior Law Correspondent

July 31, 2023

SINGAPORE - People’s Action Party MP Christopher de Souza was cleared of a charge of professional misconduct as a lawyer on Monday.
The decision by the Court of Three Judges came after the Law Society argued for him to be suspended for four years.
Mr de Souza, who is the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, was facing the court in a hearing to decide the outcome of disciplinary proceedings brought against him by the Law Society.
His lawyer, on the other hand, urged the court to acquit him of the charge, arguing that the Law Society had persistently advanced a doggedly misconceived case against Mr de Souza, a partner at Lee & Lee.
The court, comprising Justices Belinda Ang, Woo Bih Li and Kannan Ramesh, said that the Law Society did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had intended to help his client suppress evidence.
Mr de Souza was found guilty by a two-member disciplinary tribunal in 2022 for helping his client suppress evidence by preparing and filing an affidavit that did not reveal his client had breached an undertaking not to use certain documents.
The case related to his conduct while he was acting for Amber Compounding Pharmacy and Amber Laboratories.

Amber, which was initially represented by another law firm, was granted a court order to carry out a search for documents, on condition it give an undertaking not to use the seized documents without further order.
However, Amber used some documents to lodge reports with various authorities.
Lee & Lee later took over the civil suit, and Mr de Souza advised Amber to apply for the court’s permission to use the documents.

On Monday, Mr Madan Assomull, representing the Law Society, argued that Mr de Souza knew about the breach but failed to disclose this in the affidavit of a company representative that was filed to support the application.
Mr Assomull argued there was a deliberate intention to make the affidavit vague. He also argued that Mr de Souza made the considered decision not to exhibit the reports in the affidavit.
Mr de Souza’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, argued the affidavit did reveal that Amber had used the documents.
The affidavit by Mr Samuel Sudesh Thaddeus, a representative from Amber, said he had reviewed the seized documents, came to the conclusion that criminal offences were committed and decided to lodge the reports, argued Mr Tan.
Justice Woo commented that the paragraph in question was not worded as clearly as Mr de Souza seemed to think.
The judge said: “I had to read paragraph 24 many times because it’s not as clear as he made it out to be.”

Mr Tan replied the affidavit could have been better drafted but argued that the lack of clarity did not show an intention to assist Amber to suppress evidence.
He said Mr Sudesh’s resistance to disclosure led to a series of e-mail exchanges between the Lee & Lee team and Amber, resulting in seven iterations of the affidavit.
Mr Tan said Mr de Souza had acted with utmost integrity, and he showed an internal e-mail in which Mr de Souza flagged Mr Sudesh’s amendments for giving an incorrect impression.
But Mr Assomull questioned if the court wanted to send the message to lawyers that sometimes they can get away on the basis of bad drafting.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Pritam queries Government’s approach to recent issues​


Jean Iau

August 2, 2023

SINGAPORE - Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh on Wednesday called out the Government for either being slow to clear the air or less than upfront with Singaporeans when it had to deal with potentially embarrassing issues in its current term.
The Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general also contrasted how Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had exercised sensitivity in dealing with former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin’s extramarital affair, while the Committee of Privileges did not even consider sensitivity as a factor in accounting for the WP’s delay in addressing former MP Raeesah Khan’s lies in Parliament in 2021.
“The Prime Minister did not bat an eyelid in giving the Leader of the Opposition a sermon on Confucian ethics, morality and shame even though at the material time, he would have been aware of the affair between Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and MP Cheng Li Hui,” said Mr Singh (Aljunied GRC).
Rising to speak after PM Lee’s ministerial statement on the corruption probe into Transport Minister S. Iswaran and the affair between Mr Tan and Ms Cheng, Mr Singh cited three examples in which he felt the Government was not forthright with Singaporeans: the Ridout Road saga, Mr Iswaran’s arrest and the use of TraceTogether data for criminal investigations.
He then reiterated his suggestion for the Government to appoint an ethics adviser.
On the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau’s (CPIB) probe into Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan renting state-owned bungalows, Mr Singh took issue with how the public was informed about the investigations only on June 28, more than a month after PM Lee had directed the bureau to investigate the matter on May 17.
He noted that PM Lee did not disclose the probe in his May 23 statement, which announced that Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean had been tasked to review the matter.

Responding, PM Lee said CPIB investigations are usually not announced at all.
“When I asked the CPIB to investigate, it is my prerogative, I don’t have to tell anybody. What’s important is that I did conduct an investigation and the investigation results were published.”
In Mr Iswaran’s case, CPIB had announced on July 12 that the minister was assisting with investigations.

The bureau subsequently said on July 14 that Mr Iswaran had been arrested on July 11.
PM Lee said CPIB would take into account operational reasons in deciding what information to reveal, and that ministers would not go beyond what the bureau was prepared to say unless there were strong reasons to do so.
“In terms of transmission of information, we are pursuing a red herring,” he added.

Mr Singh also asked why Mr Tan’s case was handled differently from that of former Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer, and why so much time was needed to plan for the care of residents in Mr Tan’s constituency.
Replying, PM Lee said there was a reporting relationship between Mr Palmer and the People’s Association staff member whom he had an affair with.
He also said he had been open about when he found out about Mr Tan and Ms Cheng’s affair.
As for the delay in taking action, he said: “I’ve explained that Marine Parade was a consideration, but all things considered, we should have moved earlier. The important thing is we moved, and we brought it out, and we are open about it.”

On the issue of Ms Khan, PM Lee said the matter is now before the police, and he would leave it to them to pursue.
Mr Singh replied that the matter was about the point PM Lee raised on sensitivity. “The Prime Minister believes that it is appropriate to respond sensitively given the circumstances at hand, and the point I was making was we were dealing here with someone who said she had been raped, and I did not sense that sensitivity coming from the PAP (People’s Action Party) at the time.”

Mr Shanmugam rose to point out that it was Mr Singh who had brought up the word “rape” during the Committee of Privileges inquiry, and said: “So much for sensitivity.”
Responding, Mr Singh said his point was about the selective standards applied by the ruling party on sensitivity, while his use of the word “rape” during the inquiry in 2021 was to show how serious the matter was.
After a further exchange on Ms Khan’s case, Speaker Seah Kian Peng reminded MPs that the ministerial statement was about Mr Iswaran’s graft probe and the resignations of Mr Tan and Ms Cheng.
On the TraceTogether incident, Dr Balakrishnan, who was then in charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive, objected to Mr Singh’s characterisation that the incident was part of a pattern of the Government not being forthright.
He questioned if the timeline really showed a lack of transparency, recounting how he was unaware of the prevailing legislation when he assured the public in June 2020 that TraceTogether data would not be used by law enforcement agencies.
In October that year, a member of the public wrote to him questioning if this was true. Dr Balakrishnan directed his staff to check the following month and then decided to rectify the matter.
As Parliament did not sit in December that year, then Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan responded to an MP’s question in January 2021 and clarified that the police could use TraceTogether data in investigations under Section 20 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Dr Balakrishnan said he had acted in good faith at all times. “I have tried to make sure that in design, in execution and in coordination of a complex matter in an emergency, I have been transparent and forthright with the people, and I object to your characterisation and use of an old debate which was settled in Parliament to suggest that there is a pattern of delay, prevarication and obfuscation.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

CPIB did not initially reveal Iswaran’s arrest as it wanted to establish more facts: Chan Chun Sing​


Chin Soo Fang
Senior Correspondent

August 2, 2023

SINGAPORE - The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) did not initially announce that Transport Minister S. Iswaran had been arrested as it wanted first to establish more facts of the case, including hearing his side of the story, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.
CPIB had said on July 12 that Mr Iswaran was assisting with investigations into a case it had uncovered.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong took reference from CPIB’s press release on July 12 in their statements to the media that same day, Mr Chan told the House on Wednesday.
“This was the proper thing to do because ministers, including the prime minister, should not reveal more than what the law enforcement agencies are prepared to disclose,” he said, adding that while ministers do have the final decision-making power, they usually take the law enforcement agency’s advice.
Mr Chan, who is Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, noted that Hotel Properties Limited issued a statement two days later on July 14, saying its founder and managing director Ong Beng Seng had been “given a notice of arrest” by CPIB. This prompted the media to ask CPIB about it.
“By then, investigations had been ongoing for three days and CPIB had obtained more facts,” said Mr Chan. “CPIB made the operational judgment call that it would be appropriate at that point to confirm that both Mr Ong and minister Iswaran had been arrested.”
What law enforcement agencies, including CPIB, reveal at any point in time takes into account operational considerations for cases, including preserving the integrity of evidence, protecting the confidentiality of ongoing investigations, and avoiding impact on other related parties, he added.

Mr Chan also addressed other matters raised by various members of Parliament, including Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC), Mr Don Wee (Chua Chu Kang GRC), Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai, Mr Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) and Mr Dennis Tan (Hougang).

Q. Do all CPIB investigations require the PM’s concurrence, and is CPIB obliged to seek the PM’s concurrence to open formal investigations into potential offences that it has uncovered?​

A: Mr Chan said that while CPIB reports directly to PM Lee, it is functionally independent and does not require his concurrence to conduct its investigations.
“In this case, (CPIB) kept the Prime Minister informed and sought his concurrence to initiate formal investigations of minister Iswaran because the investigations concerned a Cabinet minister,” he said.

In the event that the prime minister refuses to give his consent to a CPIB investigation, the director of CPIB can go directly to the elected president for agreement to proceed with the investigation, he added.
“In reality, we have never had a prime minister who has impeded CPIB’s work,” Mr Chan noted.

Q. Why did ministers K. Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan continue with their duties while being investigated by CPIB over the Ridout Road issue, while Mr Iswaran was placed on leave of absence?​

A: There is a crucial difference between both cases, said Mr Chan, noting that Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan had asked for an independent investigation into their rental of state-owned colonial bungalows.
When PM Lee tasked CPIB to investigate, he had no reason to believe that the ministers had committed any wrongdoing, and therefore saw no need to put them on leave of absence during the investigation, Mr Chan added.
The CPIB investigation subsequently cleared both ministers.
“The Prime Minister could have asked the ministers to take leave of absence should evidence have surfaced during the investigations that warranted it,” Mr Chan said.
In Mr Iswaran’s case, PM Lee’s assessment was that it was necessary to suspend Mr Iswaran from his official duties while the investigation took place, Mr Chan said.

Q: Was Mr Iswaran’s gazetted “leave of absence” from July 7 to 9 related to the CPIB investigation?​

A: Mr Chan said Mr Iswaran took leave during this period for personal matters. The leave of absence arising from the CPIB investigation was effected only on July 12.
Iswaran’s monthly pay cut to $8,500 until further notice amid CPIB probe: PM Lee
Recap: PM Lee on CPIB’s Iswaran probe, MP resignations

Q: Will the code of conduct for ministers be reviewed?​

A: Mr Chan said the general principles of the code – which has been in place since 1954 and was last updated in 2005 – remain valid.
“We will continue to review and update the code of conduct for ministers regularly, taking into account evolving circumstances and needs,” he said.

Q: What are the avenues for public officers to report wrongdoing, and what are the measures in place to protect whistle-blowers?​

A: A public service officer who is unsure about a request that he has received – because it seems inappropriate or unrelated to official work – should consult and seek guidance from his supervisor, Mr Chan said.
If the request came from his supervisor, or a more senior officer, the officer can escalate the matter appropriately through the chain of command – including directly to his permanent secretary, the head of the agency, the head of civil service, or the minister in-charge of the public service.
Mr Chan said there is an established internal disclosure policy framework within the civil service, where officers can report any wrongful practices to their permanent secretaries. Statutory boards have their own equivalent processes.
All reports are treated with utmost confidentiality, and every effort is made to protect the officer’s identity, he added.
Between 2020 and 2022, no report that surfaced through this channel was referred to CPIB for investigation.
Under the Public Service Protocol for reporting corruption, officers should directly report to the police or CPIB when they learn of any act of corruption or have reason to believe it may have been committed in their ministries, Mr Chan said.
He added that of the 83 cases that CPIB registered for investigation in 2022, 13 – or 16 per cent – were from anonymous sources.
Four public-sector officers were prosecuted for graft offences in 2022, he said, noting that such cases form a small portion of the cases CPIB investigates each year.

Q. Are political office holders and civil servants required to declare meals received, and what is the value for which such declarations are required?​

A: Civil servants must declare to their permanent secretaries any gifts they receive from external parties on account of their official position or work, Mr Chan said.
Officers may be allowed to retain gifts valued below $50 if doing so does not affect the integrity of the civil service, he added.
Those who want to retain gifts valued above $50 must pay the gift’s assessed market value to the Government.
Officers who are invited to meals may accept when there are legitimate work-related reasons, or when it is impractical or impolite to reject the meal, Mr Chan said.
Civil servants should declare and seek approval from their permanent secretaries if they receive any meal invitation, “especially if they assess that the value of the meal or hospitality is incongruent with the professional nature of the meeting and may give rise to perceptions of influence peddling and conflict of interest – real or perceived”, he said.
Political office holders adopt a similar spirit and principles in their official activities, he added.


Alfrescian (Inf)

‘I should have forced the issue sooner’: PM Lee explains approach to Tan Chuan-Jin, Cheng Li Hui affair​


Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

August 2, 2023

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged on Wednesday in Parliament that he should have acted earlier on the affair between former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and former People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Cheng Li Hui.
In his ministerial statement, he said that he had been asked why he took so long, more than two years, to act.
“It is a fair question. In retrospect, and certainly now, knowing how things eventually turned out, I agree. I should have forced the issue sooner,” he said.
He added that by giving the matter some time, he had hoped to give them a softer exit, and save them and their families the pain and embarrassment they are suffering now.
“I placed much weight on protecting their families – perhaps too much,” said PM Lee.
“Regrettably, in the end Mr Tan and Ms Cheng did not stop the affair, and both had to go. On reflection, as I said, I should have forced the issue earlier, certainly before midterm,” he added.
Parliament had gone into recess at the end of March, marking the middle of its five-year term. It resumed after two weeks, on April 10.

On Wednesday, PM Lee described the facts of the incident between Mr Tan and Ms Cheng.
He had first learnt of their relationship in November 2020, some time after the general election.
The pair were spoken to and counselled separately, and both said they would stop the affair, which they did not.

“Most recently, in February 2023, I spoke to them again, separately. Mr Tan admitted that what he did was wrong. He offered to resign. I accepted, but I told him that before he actually resigned, I had first to make sure residents in Kembangan-Chai Chee, his ward, and Marine Parade, his GRC, were taken care of,” said PM Lee.
PM Lee said he wanted to explain his general approach, as well as his thinking at that point in time.
These sorts of relationships happen from time to time, he said.
They have happened in the past, and no doubt will happen again in the future. In such cases, what is done depends on many factors – the circumstances, how inappropriate or scandalous the behaviour is, and the family situations, said PM Lee.
“We also have to be conscious of the impact on innocent parties – particularly the spouses and children… This is not a new position – it reflects the PAP’s longstanding practice, since the days of Mr Lee Kuan Yew,” he said.
He added that there is no single template that applies to all extramarital affairs, but there can be at least three situations.

Former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (left) and former People’s Action Party MP Cheng Li Hui were spoken to and counselled separately. Both said they would stop the affair, which they did not. PHOTOS: GOV.SG, MCI
First, where the individuals involved will be talked to, and if they stop, the matter ends there and no further action is needed.
Second, where immediate action has to be taken – for example, if one of the individuals has supervisory power over the other.
PM Lee noted that the party had in the past taken immediate action in a few cases.
In 2012, then Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned just days after he came clean about his extramarital affair.
Third, where the relationship raises some questions of propriety, beyond it being an extramarital affair.
The individuals will be talked to, but the matter cannot end there, said PM Lee.
Even if the affair stops, some action has to follow – but what that action is and when it is taken depends on the nature of the facts and the boundaries transgressed, he said.
“The present situation falls into this third category. It’s wrong. Mr Tan and Ms Cheng had to stop their affair. I told them to stop.”

PM Lee asked members to consider if they would object to having a Speaker married to an MP, in deciding what more should be done in the incident involving Mr Tan and Ms Cheng.
“I think the answer is no – that would be perfectly all right. There is no direct reporting line between the Speaker and an MP. Thus, an open, legitimate relationship between the Speaker and an MP is not in itself objectionable,” he said.
Thus, this situation of a Speaker having an affair with an MP does not fall into the category where immediate action has to be taken.
But the Speaker has some official capacity vis-a-vis MPs, said PM Lee.
“An extramarital affair between him and an MP is therefore problematic. It puts other MPs and staff in an awkward position, and it is just not proper,” he added.
PM Lee said that after he spoke to Mr Tan in November 2020, he was told that the relationship would end, and he took it to be so.
He therefore felt there was some leeway to take some time to decide what further steps to take.
One possible action that could have followed would have been, should the affair have stopped, that PM Lee would ask Mr Tan to step down as Speaker some time before the end of the term, in a way that would reduce the public embarrassment to him and his family.
“As to whether one or both should also resign as MPs – I hadn’t decided at that time, but quite likely both would have had to leave at some point,” he said.
PM Lee added a “personal plea” that while there was no doubt the two of them had behaved improperly, there are also innocent family members involved.
“Likewise for the case involving a former member across the aisle, in the Workers’ Party. All their families are suffering,” said PM Lee, referring to the affair between former Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera and former senior Workers’ Party member Nicole Seah.
Mr Perera and Ms Seah resigned from the party after initially lying about their affair, Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh said in a press conference in July.

PM Lee said on Wednesday that he hoped MPs and the public could empathise and have compassion for the families, and give them the privacy and space they need to heal.

PAP has taken a hit, but will continue to uphold standards​

The PAP has taken a hit with the investigation into Transport Minister S. Iswaran, and the resignations of two MPs, PM Lee acknowledged on Wednesday.
But he assured Singaporeans that the party would protect the integrity of the system of government.
“For the good of our country, we will carry through what needs to be done in accordance with the law, even if it may be politically embarrassing and painful to the party. I will not flinch or hesitate to do my duty, to keep our system robust and clean.”
He said: “But we will show Singaporeans that we will uphold standards and do the right thing, so that trust is maintained, and the Singapore system continues to work well.
“This is my approach, and I am confident it will be my successor’s approach too. And this is how we will keep Singapore safe, strong and prosperous for many years to come.”
He noted that there had been a great deal of public interest over the recent series of incidents, with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) arresting and investigating Mr Iswaran, the resignation of two MPs, and the allegations on the Ridout Road rentals.
“The way we have handled these incidents shows how seriously the PAP takes our responsibility of governing Singapore, and being accountable to Parliament and to Singaporeans,” said PM Lee, addressing the House.
He assured MPs that when such issues come up, the party will deal with them properly and transparently, as it has done.

On the issue of CPIB’s investigation involving Mr Iswaran, when the bureau discovered on its own that it had reason to arrest and interview a minister, it opened a formal investigation.
“Nobody tipped them off. There had been no public scandal. CPIB came across something that needed investigating, and proceeded to do their job,” PM Lee said.
On the issue of the PAP MPs’ affairs, he added: “We took some time to sort it out, probably longer than we should have. But we did what we needed to do, and put the situation right.”
The CPIB had also earlier thoroughly investigated ministers K. Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan on the Ridout Road rentals, and found no wrongdoing on their part.
These incidents show two aspects of how the PAP government works, said PM Lee.
One, when there is a suspicion or allegation of wrongdoing in the discharge of official duties, especially possible corruption, there is zero tolerance.
Two, when people slip in their personal lives, the PAP will look at the facts of each case carefully, and deal with the matter as humanely and sensitively as possible, according to the principles the party has established, he said.
“Systems are composed of human beings. In any system, however comprehensive the safeguards, sometimes something will still go wrong. The PAP Government does our utmost to minimise that possibility,” said PM Lee.
He added that the party works hard to identify the right people to bring into politics and appoint to responsible positions. They are vetted carefully, tested and stretched, before they are entrusted with heavier responsibilities.
Often they measure up, but sometimes they fall short. Occasionally they transgress norms of conduct, or commit wrongdoing, he said.
He noted that Singapore has seen corruption cases involving political office-holders in the past, including Mr Teh Cheang Wan, former minister for national development, in 1986; and Mr Phey Yew Kok, former MP and president of the National Trades Union Congress, in 1979.
“All these cases were handled by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who was then prime minister – thoroughly, transparently, and applying the full force of the law. That is still how the PAP Government deals with such cases. It’s not changed under my charge; and it won’t under my successor either,” said PM Lee.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Shanmugam, Vivian have done nothing wrong and retain my full confidence: PM Lee on Ridout Road saga​


Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

JUL 4, 2023

SINGAPORE - Ministers K. Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan have done nothing wrong and retain his full confidence, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, following probes by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean that uncovered no criminal wrongdoing or improper conduct.
There is nothing wrong with ministers renting black-and-white bungalows from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) as both had, provided it is properly done and all procedures are followed, he added.
Addressing Parliament on the Ridout Road issue on Monday, PM Lee said ministers in Singapore are paid a clean wage – “realistic, competitive, but clean wage”.
“They don’t get perks, there’s no official house to live in. You get a salary. It’s for you to judge what you need it for, for your lives. Save it, give it away, spend it, put it in a house, travel, whatever,” he said.
“Therefore, where ministers decide to live, whether they want to rent, whether they want to buy, these are personal choices.”
The debate came after weeks of public speculation on the circumstances by which both Law and Home Affairs Minister Mr Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Dr Balakrishnan came to rent the bungalows at 26 and 31 Ridout Road respectively. MPs had submitted over 20 questions ahead of this week’s sitting.
When he heard that both ministers had rented the colonial bungalows, PM Lee said his assessment, without going into it in depth, was that he did not believe there was wrongdoing.

“I had every confidence that my ministers and the SLA officials who dealt with them would have done the right things and handled the rentals properly,” he said.
However, the issue continued to attract public interest and both ministers asked him to conduct an investigation independent of their ministries.
PM Lee then decided that, “notwithstanding my confidence in them and in the system”, it would be best to task the CPIB to conduct a formal investigation and to establish definitively if there was any corruption or wrongdoing.

“The CPIB is independent. It has built up a strong reputation as an anti-corruption outfit... Everybody in Singapore knows what it means when CPIB invites you to lim kopi (drink coffee),” he said.
Apart from the legal question of whether there was criminal conduct, PM Lee said he wanted a broader review, including on SLA’s processes, whether there was preferential treatment enjoyed by the ministers, and whether any privileged information was disclosed to them.
“As PM, my duty is not just to be satisfied that legally there was no wrongdoing, but whether – quite apart from the law – there was any other kind of misconduct or impropriety.”
He then tasked SM Teo to conduct this review to complement CPIB’s investigation.

PM Lee noted that SM Teo is his most senior minister in terms of years in Cabinet and experience.
“I appointed him to show that I had every intention to maintain the Government’s and the PAP’s (People’s Action Party) longstanding high and stringent standards of integrity and propriety,” he said.
He noted some MPs had suggested on Monday that SM Teo was not sufficiently independent to conduct the investigation.
PM Lee said he viewed it differently. For corruption and wrongdoing, an independent process is in place, such as a CPIB investigation and referral to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“But ethics and standards of propriety – those are the Prime Minister’s responsibility. I have to set the standards of what’s ethical, what’s proper,” he said.
“I cannot outsource them, for example, to appoint an ethics adviser to tell me what is proper or not proper. I have to know what is proper or not. Otherwise I shouldn’t be here.”
Addressing Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh’s remarks on the subject, PM Lee said: “The Leader of the Opposition paid CPIB and paid the Government a compliment just now when he said, nobody is suggesting corruption on the part of the ministers.”
Mr Singh had said earlier in the sitting: “I don’t believe anybody is making an allegation that the minister is corrupt, somebody is corrupt in the system... Singaporeans are not making that point. I think it’s quite clear.”

PM Lee noted that Monday’s parliamentary discussion was not meant to just resolve the issue of the Ridout Road rentals.
He said: “It is also a demonstration of how the PAP (People’s Action Party) is determined to uphold the standards which it has set itself from the beginning, in 1959.
“This Government has not, and will never, tolerate any compromise or departure from the stringent standards of honesty, integrity and incorruptibility that Singaporeans expect of us.”
This is the foundation not just for the people’s trust in the PAP government, but for the integrity and good functioning of Singapore’s political system, said PM Lee.
“This is my commitment and the PAP government’s unwavering commitment to Singaporeans.”

Recapping the debate​

Speaking at the end of a close to six-hour exchange, SM Teo noted that a broader point underlying the discussion was the issue of equity and fairness.
Uplifting all Singapore citizens is a shared aspiration of MPs from both sides of the House, he said, adding that the PAP government is dedicated to building an inclusive and progressive society.
SM Teo also spoke on the importance of a clean government and upholding integrity among those in public service – whether elected, or public officers.
He noted that PM Lee had acted firmly on the Ridout Road matter by directing CPIB to investigate, even though reports from the Ministry of Law and SLA did not indicate a high likelihood of wrongdoing.
He added: “I am glad today that in this House, we have agreed to focus on the facts and the truth, not just on wild allegations, rumours or perceptions.
“This is important so that we can build a system with a strong foundation, which will help to bring in good people to continue to serve in government, to take Singapore further forward.”
SM Teo also said he was glad that no one was alleging corruption.
Earlier on Monday, SM Teo had said that to prevent conflict of interest, public servants who have access to government property leasing or valuation matters will have to make a declaration, before they can rent such properties managed by their agencies.
The Prime Minister will also review the declarations required for property transactions for ministers and PAP MPs.

Both Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan then addressed MPs’ questions on their rental of the two properties.
Mr Shanmugam said he spent more than $500,000 refurbishing 26 Ridout Road, and is not making money from its rental.
Between the rent he was paying to live in the bungalow and the money he was receiving from renting out his family home – a good class bungalow – he was at net deficit, after accounting for property and income tax.
Dr Balakrishnan said he and his wife had rented the bungalow so their children and grandchildren could be under one roof.
He added that the property was in an “advanced state of disrepair” when his family took over the tenancy. Extensive repairs were necessary to make the house liveable.
Addressing questions related to SLA, Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong said SLA had acted properly in leasing out the properties at 26 and 31 Ridout Road, and there was “every reasonable, commercial basis” for the transactions.
Mr Tong said the terms of both leases were standard and did not deviate from usual processes. He noted that SLA’s valuation department did not know the prospective tenant for 26 Ridout Road was Mr Shanmugam.

Separately, in response to a question on whether ministers living in private properties like black-and-whites are able to relate to the people, Mr Shanmugam said that grappling with inequality is “not just an academic exercise” as he grew up in rental housing.
“Mr Lee Kuan Yew set up a system that allowed a poor Indian kid to become a successful lawyer to do well,” he said.
“You don’t deal with inequality by preventing poor kids from doing well... You tackle inequality by providing for social mobility by helping people to move up.”
Mr Shanmugam also answered questions from MPs, including from Mr Singh, on whether his decision to ask the then deputy secretary at the Law Ministry for a list of available properties was appropriate.
The minister said this was done so that the ministry knew what he was doing, and for total transparency.
“I think it was important for me to have told my ministry, so this is not on a private errand or something,” he said.


Alfrescian (Inf)
"Devices like mobile phones and laptops may also be seized as evidence during the process."

So why weren't K Shanmugam's and Vivian Balakrishnan's mobile phones and laptops seized for investigation into the Ridout bungalow discount rental corruption case?

What it means to have an hours-long ‘lim kopi’ at S’pore’s CPIB​


Those familiar with investigations by CPIB say witnesses and accused persons can be questioned for hours at its building in Lengkok Bahru. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

JUL 30, 2023

SINGAPORE – Transport Minister S. Iswaran was at the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) headquarters for about 10 hours on July 18, a week after he was arrested in a corruption probe that also involves tycoon Ong Beng Seng.
Those familiar with investigations by the anti-graft body say witnesses and accused persons can be questioned for hours at its building in Lengkok Bahru. Devices like mobile phones and laptops may also be seized as evidence during the process.
At these interviews, investigators may record a cautioned statement, which spells out the offence the CPIB is looking into. This statement is necessary when an individual is to be charged.
Lawyer Andy Yeo told The Sunday Times that an accused person is formally confronted with a copy of the charge during a lengthy process where he is given one more chance to respond to it.
Mr Yeo said: “If he doesn’t outline his defence at this stage, then he might be less likely to be believed subsequently.”
If there is enough evidence after the statement is recorded, the interviewee may be placed under arrest and released on bail.
“Bail is usually given and seldom denied,” said Mr Yeo.

The only time bail is denied is when the accused is a flight risk or threatens to harm a witness, or when there is continuing investigations into a wider scope of charges or for serious cases like rape, kidnapping or murder.
Mr Iswaran and Mr Ong are both currently released on bail. They had to surrender their passports, the CPIB had said earlier.
ST spoke to three people who were called in over corruption allegations, and lawyers who had clients who were investigated by the anti-graft body.

They spoke of invitations by “Uncle Sam” to the “White House” – a moniker the bureau earned for keeping Singapore clean of corruption – to “lim kopi” (drink coffee), which means an interview.
Those who have been to the headquarters say there is an actual “lim kopi” sign in the building.

The CPIB decided to rename a meeting room at the Lengkok Bahru premises as “Lim’s Kopi”. PHOTO: CPIB
Lawyer S. Balamurugan said he had clients who were called in for interviews that stretched for more than four hours.
“(It) could be due to the complexity of the cases, the number of witnesses, and because the investigators had to go through voluminous documents or forensic documents, essentially the details,” said Mr Balamurugan.
He had at least 10 clients who were interviewed by the CPIB in his 23 years of practice.
Another senior lawyer, who asked not to be named, said investigators could also interview several people linked to the case at the same time.
“Most times, there are simultaneous interviews going on in different rooms,” said the lawyer.
“They cross-check (information), they wait and then verify information... Another reason why it takes time is because they are screening your phone and looking at messages before they ask you questions,” said the lawyer with more than 20 years of experience.

Former Fifa referee T. Rajamanickam was investigated for corruption in 1994 over a football match Singapore played against Kelantan in April that year.
He said officers searched his home and later took him to the CPIB office, which was then in Hill Street.
“I was taken into a small air-conditioned room, where, for the next 12 hours, I was interviewed by a few investigating officers (IOs),” said Mr Rajamanickam, 72.
In that period, he was given “kopi” and fed. Different IOs interviewed him several times, often asking the same questions in different ways.
“I was not fearful,” Mr Rajamanickam said, adding that he did not think he was involved in match fixing.
But he later admitted in a signed statement that he had received $1,000 from a known bookie and businessman, Mr Rajendran R. Kurusamy, then 34.

Former Singapore football international K. Kannan (left) and former referee T Rajamanickam, whose life bans were lifted by the Football Association of Singapore on March 15, 2022. PHOTO: V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Mr Rajamanickam pleaded guilty to receiving the money for arranging for Malaysian soccer referee K. Nadarajan to be lenient to the Singapore team in a Premier League match against Kelantan. Singapore won 1-0.
In October 1994, Mr Rajamanickam was sentenced to eight months’ jail and fined $1,000 for accepting $1,000 as a bribe. A second charge of corruptly receiving RM 5,000 (S$1,450) from Mr Rajendran was taken into consideration.
He was also handed a lifetime ban from all football activities and deregistered from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) referees’ list in 1994. FAS lifted his ban on March 15, 2022.
“It’s very sad because today I could have been riding high in Fifa... giving lectures or being a match commissioner at one of the World Cups,” he said.

In the CPIB’s 70-year history, its officers have interviewed people from all walks of life – from businessmen to forklift drivers to powerful people, including ministers.
The bureau, which was set up in 1952, also investigates complaints from anonymous sources.
In 2022, of the 234 corruption-related reports it received, 100 – or 43 per cent – were anonymous.
The CPIB previously said it assesses anonymous reports based on the merit of the information provided. Of the 83 cases registered for investigation in 2022, 13 cases – or 16 per cent – came from anonymous sources.
Most cases the anti-graft body investigated in 2022 were from the private sector. Public-sector-originating cases accounted for 14 per cent of all cases registered for investigation that year.
The conviction rate for CPIB cases is above the 95th percentile. In 2022, it was 99 per cent.
On its website, the anti-graft body said: “The consistently high conviction rate for CPIB cases is testament to the quality of the bureau’s investigation to be able to stand up to scrutiny in court, as well as the close working relationship between CPIB and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in bringing corrupt offenders to task.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

Jail for ex-owner of fish wholesale firm who gave bribes to FairPrice employees​


Ng Keng Meng committed the offences between 2013 and 2020 to advance the business interests of his firm with the supermarket chain. PHOTO: ST FILE

Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

August 11, 2023

SINGAPORE - The former owner of a fish wholesale company was sentenced to 14 months’ jail on Friday after he gave at least $220,500 in bribes to FairPrice employees.
Ng Keng Meng, 59, who used to own Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co, committed the offences between 2013 and 2020 to advance the business interests of his firm with the supermarket chain.
He will spend another three weeks behind bars over an unrelated charge of causing hurt to two people while driving a van in a dangerous manner.
For this traffic offence, Lim was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of two years from his date of release.
In July, he pleaded guilty to offences including three graft charges involving $90,000.
Six other similar charges involving the remaining $130,500 were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Two former FairPrice employees linked to his case were dealt with in court earlier.

Lim Kian Kok, then 48, who used to be a senior team leader at the supermarket chain, was sentenced to four years and five months’ jail in March 2023 after pleading guilty to 12 graft charges.
Former FairPrice team leader See Hock Lam, then 70, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of corruption, was sentenced to three years and two months’ jail the following month.
The pair’s offences involved several firms including Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co.

Lim and See had split their ill-gotten gains equally, with each receiving $261,500.
Their offences included ordering larger quantities of fish and seafood from suppliers that bribed them.
See joined FairPrice in 1997 and later reported to Lim. His duties included helping Lim order crab and prawns.
Lim, who joined FairPrice in 2007, became a senior team leader in 2013 and oversaw its buying operations at Jurong Fishery Port, and had the discretion to determine which suppliers to buy fish from.
Shortly after he became a senior team leader, he approached See and asked the older man if he “wanted to make money”.

See agreed to the plan as he needed cash to feed his gambling habit. The pair later approached multiple suppliers for bribes.
At Lim’s suggestion, See told Ng some time on or before July 2013, that Lim would purchase more fish from Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co if Ng gave them $2,500 a month.
Ng agreed and at the end of each month, he would give See the monies in cash at a car park near See’s home. At times, Ng would place the cash in a mailbox.
In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei told the court that Lim then purchased larger quantities of seafood from Nam Soon Sin Kee & Co.
The bribes continued until September 2020 when the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau started looking into the case.
In an unrelated case, Ng was driving a van along Jalan Anak Bukit towards Upper Bukit Timah Road at around 7pm on March 8, 2022, when he reached a signalised cross-junction.
Realising that he was heading in the wrong direction, Ng turned right into the junction towards the Pan-Island Expressway even though the right-turn arrow was red at the time.
His vehicle struck the left side of another van, which moved to the left and hit the rear of a car.
Ng’s van veered right and mounted the centre divider before hitting a traffic light and a directional sign. The impact damaged the sign, and the traffic light pole became slanted.
The other two drivers suffered whiplash injuries and sought medical treatment the next day.


Alfrescian (Inf)
PAP MPs, ministers and army generals have a safety parachute: they will be given jobs in government-linked companies after their political and/or military careers.

Cronynism #1:

"Following the watershed 2011 elections, Mr Lee Kuan Yew as well as former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also resigned from the Cabinet. Mr Yeo joined the private sector, even though he was approached by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who asked him if he needed help to get into Temasek Holdings or GIC."

Cronynism #2:
"The book also described how Mr Yeo found out later that Mr Lee had tried to recommend him to take over Mr Lee’s position on the JP Morgan International Advisory Board."

George Yeo's new book details 'tensions', complex ties with Lee Kuan Yew and why he nearly quit PAP after Aljunied GRC loss​

Mr George Yeo at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on Aug 14, 2023.
Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY
Mr George Yeo at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on Aug 14, 2023.
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  • Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a “complex man” whom former Foreign Minister George Yeo said he was able to watch at "close range" in his later years
  • But their relationship had its ups and downs, with some "tensions" during the 2011 General Election when Mr Yeo lost his Aljunied GRC seat
  • Some had felt that Mr Lee deliberately hurt the PAP Aljunied GRC's team chances with his remarks during the hustings, Mr Yeo's latest book stated
  • Reflecting about his ties with Mr Lee in a joint interview by TODAY and CNA about his new book, Mr Yeo also spoke on how he nearly quit PAP
  • The book, titled George Yeo: Musings, is set for release on August 31



Published August 15, 2023

SINGAPORE — Former foreign affairs minister George Yeo said in an interview on Monday (Aug 14) that despite tensions between him and the late Lee Kuan Yew towards the end of Mr Yeo's political career in 2011, he was eventually able to find closure and reconcile with the man who first beckoned him to enter politics.
Speaking to TODAY and CNA in a joint interview about the final book of the trilogy George Yeo: Musings, set for release on Aug 31, Mr Yeo, 68, also recalled being dissuaded by friends from quitting the ruling People’s Action Party in 2011.
This was when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told him to step down from the party’s central decision-making body following Mr Yeo's 2011 electoral loss, with former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong also departing the Central Executive Committee (CEC).
To Mr Yeo, it was the late Mr Lee who harmed the chances of the PAP’s Aljunied Group Representation Constituency slate in the 2011 General Election (GE). Mr Lee antagonised Aljunied voters then by stating that those who chose the opposition would have “five years to repent”, wrote Mr Yeo in his book.
Summarising his feelings towards Mr Lee Kuan Yew years after the watershed 2011 polls, Mr Yeo said in the interview: “I sensed he knew what I knew about his thinking. I don't want to make this point too strongly. But I thought it was an interesting relationship from which I've benefited enormously.

“He was a complex man and it's such a privilege to have known a historical figure and watch him at close range in his later years,” added Mr Yeo, who is now a visiting scholar at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the founding patron of its Asia Competitiveness Institute.
During the interview, Mr Yeo also addressed rumours about his candidacy in the ongoing Presidential Election and his support for presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song.
The 457-page book for the first time delved into his interactions with the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his relationship with the PAP after the opposition Workers' Party wrestled away Aljunied GRC in 2011.
Two chapters in the book were devoted to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, containing revelations such as how at one point after GE 2011, Mr Lee offered to give up his Tanjong Pagar seat and allow Mr Yeo to seek to reenter the Cabinet through a by-election.
The book is being published by World Scientific and put together by veteran media practitioner Woon Tai Ho and research assistant Keith Yap.
Clarifying that the book is not intended to be a treatise on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership, Mr Yeo said he wanted to give readers a sense of his personal relationship with Singapore's founding prime minister.

“I described more of my personal relationship with Mr Lee, which had different facets, and also (from) watching him close-up, almost like an assistant sometimes, which I thought might be of interest to others.
“There was some tension at the end. And I thought there was closure,” he said.


Prior to joining politics, Mr Yeo served as a military officer in the army and air force, and later on in the Defence Ministry’s Joint Operations and Planning Directorate, taking over the role from then Brigadier-General Lee Hsien Loong, the current Prime Minister.
It was Mr Lee Kuan Yew who ultimately persuaded Mr Yeo to join politics in 1988 with the message that if Mr Yeo wanted to learn from him, it was best to “come in earlier when (Mr Lee) was not too old”.
The book also charted Mr Yeo’s 23-year political career as the Minister for Information and the Arts, Minister for Health, Minister for Trade and Industry, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
He wrote about how in his first seven years in Government, Mr Lee Kuan Yew included him for most of his overseas trips, which “must have caused a certain amount of jealousy among my colleagues”.

“Watching the publicity I was getting, my mother, before she died, told me that while Lee Kuan Yew had an affection for me, I should never compete with his son,” wrote Mr Yeo in the book.
In one section of the book, Mr Yeo wrote about how he was the only one to respond positively to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s suggestion to a group of ministers that married Singaporeans get an extra vote because they are likely to vote more responsibly.
To this, Mr Yeo made a proposal for “life cycle voting”, in which married Singaporeans get two votes until they reach their senior years when it reverts back to one. But the idea got no traction from others, including Mr Lee.
Nevertheless, Mr Yeo and Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not agree on every issue, with the latter having initial concerns about Mr Yeo’s Catholic and Teochew background.
“He knew I had different views. He would criticise me mildly, but he knew I was serious. And he never dismissed those views,” said Mr Yeo during the interview.
For example, he recalled how the Esplanade’s design and construction, which he oversaw as the Minister for Information and the Arts, were “bungled” by a mistake he made and nearly led to the project’s cancellation.

It led to the Esplanade’s design being presented to the Cabinet and the public as large blocks, which some referred to as tombstones or bras, instead of the actual design. After the presentation and the public outcry, the Cabinet decided to abort the project during a meeting in which Mr Yeo was absent.
“We mismanaged the PR (public relations) for the Esplanade’s design. There were so many caustic comments and (then-Senior Minister) Lee Kuan Yew wrote me a letter that none of those who were not connected to the project had a good thing to say about the design,” said Mr Yeo.
He replied with an explanation that the presentation mainly showed a schematic, and said in the interview that he had expected more back and forth exchanges with Mr Lee, but the latter did not pursue the matter further. Mr Yeo would later convince Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to allow the project to continue.
“After the Esplanade was opened, (Mr Lee) paid a backhanded compliment which I treasured and cherished. He said for future projects of similar scale, it should be like the Esplanade. That was as close as you can get as praise from Lee Kuan Yew,” he said.
During his stint as Health Minister from 1994 to 1997, Mr Yeo was able to legislate Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which Mr Lee Kuan Yew was known to be against.
But sensing that Mr Lee’s position had changed as his son was being treated by a Chinese medical doctor for lymphoma and that China had sent a “top-notch” masseur to treat the elder Mr Lee’s shoulder, Mr Yeo was able to broach the subject of TCM.
The law regulating TCM was introduced in 2000, and Mr Yeo was also able to approach issues that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had an opposite view of, such as the use of Chinese dialects and the Government’s position on casinos.
Asked how he was able to navigate difficult topics with Mr Lee, Mr Yeo said: “In my encounters with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he may put you down, he may scoff at some of your views, but he will take you seriously, he will take an argument.
“I found that he had an open mind. He understood power, but for him the argument had to be won both morally and intellectually,” he said.
George YeoMr George Yeo and his wife Jennifer visiting Mr Lee Kuan Yew at his Istana office.


The turning point was the 2011 GE, when changes to the electoral boundaries that year meant that Mr Yeo’s constituency of Aljunied GRC took in a part of Cheng San GRC that the Opposition had done better in than other wards in previous elections.
For two days during the hustings, Mr Lee Kuan Yew made comments that “antagonised an already unhappy electorate in Aljunied”, wrote Mr Yeo.
“(Mr Lee) said it would not be the end of the world if Aljunied was lost. If Aljunied voters chose the opposition, they would have five years to repent,” he said, adding that Mr Lee only apologised for the remarks privately to Mr Yeo, but not publicly.
Mr Yeo wrote that he was disappointed with this turn of events.
“Lee Kuan Yew always told us that a public offence could not be made up by a private apology. As a politician, I understood the tactical purpose,” he said, adding that it drew the heat from elsewhere during an election when there was “considerable anger” against the PAP.
While many around Mr Yeo shed tears after his defeat at the ballot box, he did not, even though the loss was painful. Mr Yeo treated every political term as his last, he said.
“I might have to leave politics for various reasons — to take responsibility for mistakes, on a matter of principle, or if the voters no longer wanted me,” he wrote of his mindset as a politician.
A few days after his defeat, Mr Yeo announced that he would retire from parliamentary politics.
But the book documented how sometime later after Mr Yeo’s final Cabinet meeting, Mr Lee Kuan Yew called him on the phone with a “startling offer” to get him back into Cabinet by vacating his seat in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
“When Lee Kuan Yew calls you up to make a proposal, I took it very seriously and looked at it all around and discussed it with my wife and made a decision,” he said.
Mr Yeo would have declined Mr Lee’s offer, as getting back into Cabinet through a by-election would put him in a weak position, wrote Mr Yeo.
But this decision became unnecessary after PM Lee Hsien Loong told Mr Yeo that he was one of a few who could beat Dr Tan Cheng Bock who was the presidential hopeful in the 2011 Presidential Election. Mr Yeo offered to run should he be needed as a "spare tyre in an emergency", though this also did not materialise.
Later, PM Lee asked Mr Yeo to step down from the PAP’s CEC, which made Mr Yeo realise that his time in the party was up.
“I won my place in the CEC on my own merit and I still had a year to go. So when I was asked to stand down I took that as a signal that there's really no role for me to play in the party… I was disappointed but I accepted it,” said Mr Yeo.
“I considered resigning from the party. But I was advised by friends that I should not,” he said. Today, Mr Yeo is still a party member but does not attend its formal meetings.


Following the watershed 2011 elections, Mr Lee Kuan Yew as well as former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also resigned from the Cabinet. Mr Yeo joined the private sector, even though he was approached by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who asked him if he needed help to get into Temasek Holdings or GIC.
Two years after the elections, in September 2013, Mr Yeo bumped into Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s press secretary by coincidence, who informed him about the latter’s declining health and urged Mr Yeo to go see Mr Lee at his office.
“I replied that I had no reason to invite myself. It would be different if he asked to see me. However, what (she) said weighed on me,” said Mr Yeo. “Without Lee Kuan Yew, I would not be where I was.”
So, Mr Yeo reached out to Mr Lee’s office, offering to convey birthday wishes as Mr Lee had turned 90. The offer was immediately accepted and, together with Mr Yeo’s wife, the two men met for the first time following 2011's events.
The book also described how Mr Yeo found out later that Mr Lee had tried to recommend him to take over Mr Lee’s position on the JP Morgan International Advisory Board.
Their last meeting was at the 2014 National Day Parade. Mr Lee died on March 23 the following year.
During the interview, Mr Yeo said the chapters on his interactions with Mr Lee were not challenging to write as he had penned things that he felt needed to be said.
While Mr Yeo stressed that he did not intend to critique Mr Lee Kuan Yew as a Singapore leader and that others are more qualified, he sought to provide a balanced and honest view of his own interactions with Mr Lee.
“I presented an overall picture (and) a total assessment of my experience with him. And I did ask a few friends to run through my chapters to give me their views, their reactions, whether it was too positive or negative, whether it was too kind or unkind.
“But no major changes (needed), because I was conscious of the balance right from the outset, in the words, and in the choice of pictures,” he said.
Of Mr Lee, Mr Yeo wrote in the book that his name is “inseparable from the idea of Singapore”.
Years after the death of Singapore's founding father, Mr Yeo would launch translated versions of Mr Lee’s memoirs in other countries such as France and Croatia, and noted how there was even a contraband copy of Mr Lee’s The Singapore Story in Russian that circulated throughout the former Soviet Union.
“Singapore was his obsession and everything he lived for. His imprint is everywhere,” wrote Mr Yeo.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Nearly 3 years’ jail for ICA officer who received sex and cash in bribes from foreign sex worker​


Teo Hwee Peng, who worked for ICA’s Intelligence Operations Branch, has been suspended from duties since Nov 25, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

August 21, 2023

SINGAPORE – An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer who committed graft by receiving sex and cash from a foreign sex worker was sentenced to two years and nine months’ jail on Monday.
Teo Hwee Peng, 49, was also ordered to pay a penalty of over $2,600 linked to the amounts he had received – more than $2,000 and 7,188.88 yuan (S$1,350) – from Chinese national Liang Qinglan.
Teo, who worked for ICA’s Intelligence Operations Branch from 2004 to 2016, has been suspended from duties since Nov 25, 2020.
Before handing down the sentence, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo noted that Teo was a senior ICA officer at the time and his offences were premeditated.
The judge also said a clear message must be sent that acts of corruption must not be condoned.
After a trial, Teo was convicted in May of eight graft charges for receiving cash and sex from Liang in 2018 and 2019.
He was acquitted of one graft charge linked to Liang and three similar charges involving another Chinese national, Ms Cheng Wenjuan.

He received the acquittals after Liang gave unclear and puzzling evidence involving a purported sexual favour, and following Ms Cheng’s death from suicide, said Judge Yeo in earlier proceedings.
Ms Cheng, 32, had been accused of offences including multiple counts of graft when she was found dead at the foot of a block of flats in August 2021.
With Teo’s discharge amounting to an acquittal, he cannot be charged again for the same offences.

Liang was sentenced to 25 weeks’ jail and a fine of $8,000 in December 2021 after she pleaded guilty to three counts of corruption involving Teo and a separate charge for offering sexual services online.
Teo had received sex and cash from Liang, who wanted to be arrested so that she could buy time and continue working in Singapore.
She knew that foreigners issued with a special pass (SP) could remain here to assist with investigations.
The Chinese national concluded that as long as she was not deported, she could still work.
In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Menon said: “(Liang) knew it was wrong to provide sexual services to an immigration officer in exchange for his help obtaining an SP, but obliged because she wanted to secure an SP so that she could remain in Singapore to work.”
Liang, now 39, had entered Singapore on May 28, 2018, on a social visit pass that expired on July 27 that year.
Some time between July and August 2018, she contacted Teo and he said that he could help her secure a special pass in return for an iPhone X.

Between July and October 2018, Teo invited himself to Liang’s home in Jurong West and they had sex.
After the encounter, Liang asked Teo for the procedure to extend her stay in Singapore.
He said he would arrange for her to be arrested.
The court heard that Teo had contacts who alerted him to potential immigration offenders. He gave an informant Liang’s details, and the informant in turn alerted an ICA officer.
Liang was arrested on Oct 16, 2018. When asked whether she wanted to remain in Singapore to assist with a related ICA investigation, she agreed.
She paid a fine for overstaying and was issued an SP. Two days later, Teo and Liang met for a meal, which Liang paid for.
She also offered to buy Teo an iPhone, but he declined. Instead, he agreed to her offer of cash of between $2,100 and $2,200.
Later that month, Liang also lent Teo 5,000 yuan. He repaid this sum.
The prosecution said she later lent him another 2,000 yuan, but he did not repay this amount.
Defence lawyer Narayanan Vijya Kumar told the court on Monday that Teo intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Teo was then offered bail of $50,000.
For each count of graft, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Sembcorp Marine commercial executive charged with bribery offences​

Sembcorp Marine commercial executive charged with bribery offences

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
18 Aug 2023

SINGAPORE: A commercial executive from Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard was charged this week with taking or attempting to obtain bribes totalling more than S$200,000 over a period of six years.
Balakrishnan Govindasamy, 61, was said to have corruptly obtained and attempted to obtain gratifications in the form of cash totalling at least S$202,877 between 2015 and 2021, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said on Wednesday (Aug 16), the day Govindasamy was charged.
The bribes and attempts allegedly involved nine contractors representing different companies.
"These gratifications were meant as an inducement or reward for advancing the business interests of these contractors with Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard," said CPIB.
For his offences, Govindasamy faced 14 charges punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, of which five charges are punishable under the Criminal Procedure Code.
Any person convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to jail for up to five years, or both. In addition, anyone who is convicted under the Criminal Procedure Code can face two times the amount of punishment liable for that offence.
In response to CNA's queries, Seatrium said it understands a former employee has been charged in court and is fully cooperating with the authorities.
"The company wishes to reiterate it is committed to the highest standards of compliance with anti-bribery and corruption laws and does not condone or tolerate any improper conduct.
"The company has a strict compliance programme in place to prevent violation of any anti-corruption laws applicable to its operations."
Seatrium added it was unable to comment further as the ongoing proceedings are under the purview of the authorities.
Seatrium was formed following the merger of Singapore's two main offshore and marine companies - Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) - earlier this year.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Tharman’s son rotated within MOF to pre-empt any possible potential conflict of interest: MOF and PSC Secretariat​


Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s son Akilan joined the Ministry of Finance in June 2022. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

AUG 30, 2023

SINGAPORE – Presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s son Akilan was rotated to a different directorate within the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in July to pre-empt any possible potential conflict of interest, said the ministry and Public Service Commission (PSC) Secretariat on Wednesday.
Mr Akilan, who joined MOF in June 2022, was previously working in the reserves and investment directorate. No conflict of interest occurred in his previous work at that directorate, said the statement.
He is now working on education and manpower policies in the social programmes directorate in MOF.
“There is no conflict of interest between Akilan’s current job and his father’s candidacy for presidency,” said the statement.
“The decision was made in July to rotate him and pre-empt any possible potential for conflict of interest situations in the presidential election.”
Speaking to the media on Wednesday shortly after the statement was released, Mr Tharman said the statement is to be taken “at face value” and “there’s nothing for me to answer”. He was asked about his thoughts on the statement, as well as online suggestions that Mr Akilan’s job description was changed hastily on Wednesday after it received public attention.
“These are stray bullets. Are you suggesting that MOF and the PSC were inventing facts? Can’t be, right? So I think it speaks for itself. If you have further questions, please ask MOF and PSC, not myself. I think it’s a very serious matter if you’re going to invent facts,” he replied.

When asked if he had declared his relationship with his son to the Elections Department, Mr Tharman said: “For what purpose? How about my daughter and my mother and my sister or anyone like that?
“There has to be some conflict of interest. So if there’s no conflict of interest, it’s a simple matter. This is an utterly straightforward issue... that’s all there is to it. It is a non-story. A complete non-story, that’s all.”
A Team Tharman spokesman later added that the multiple rumours circulating on forums and social media regarding Mr Tharman’s children were “false and baseless”.
He added that none of Mr Tharman’s children are in business, let alone received government support for it. They also went to local schools and not the Singapore American School as claimed.
“We have always called for a contest based on facts and track records of the candidates. Such rumours are unfortunate and bring disrepute to the process,” he said.
The statement, and Mr Tharman and his team’s response on Wednesday, came after several social media posts made on Wednesday included screenshots from the Singapore Government Directory’s website of Mr Akilan’s previous posting in the reserves and investment directorate, and said that he was the son of Mr Tharman.
Some of the posts had also said Mr Akilan was granted a disruption from full-time national service (NS), and questioned the reasons for it.
In the statement, MOF and the PSC Secretariat said that Mr Akilan was treated like all other Overseas Merit Scholarship holders, according to prevailing policies.
“Akilan disrupted from his NS in 2011, resumed his NS duties in 2015 and finished his NS obligations, like his other PSC scholarship peers who had disrupted,” they said.
Mr Tharman, 66, is among three presidential candidates in the race to be Singapore’s ninth president.


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Ng Kok Song’s son-in-law’s role at GIC sparks questions amid presidential bid​


30 August 2023


SINGAPORE: Since Ng Kok Song, the former Chief Investment Officer of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, announced his candidacy for the 2023 Singapore Presidential Election in July, he has consistently emphasized his “political independence.”
However, questions have arisen among Singaporeans about his ability to serve as President impartially, given his extensive 27-year association with PAP politicians during his tenure at GIC.
Interestingly, a vigilant netizen highlighted that Ng Kok Song’s son-in-law, Mark Lee, currently holds the position of Managing Director at GIC.
A cross-reference with a previous report by CNA on 19 July confirms this observation, with Mark Lee positioned at the far right in the group photos:

In a video featured on TODAY, Mr Ng introduced his family members to the media, including his first daughter, Deborah Ng, and her husband, Mark Lee.

22-year tenure in GIC

After closely examining Mr Lee’s publicly accessible LinkedIn profile, it is apparent that his tenure at GIC spans an impressive 22-year duration.
His profile unambiguously states that his journey with GIC began in September 2001. Over the course of his extensive career within the organization, he has achieved notable milestones.
Notably, he ascended the ranks to become Deputy Head of Asia Pacific Equities, followed by his appointment as Deputy Head of Developed Market Equities in 2018.

Further enhancing his professional trajectory, Mr. Lee assumed the esteemed role of Chief of Global Active Equities (GAEQ) within the Public Equities Department in June 2019.
This strategic department, as outlined in Mr Lee’s profile on GIC’s official site, is entrusted with global investments in developed markets. The GAEQ team operates across key financial hubs, including New York, London, and Singapore.

Prior to joining GIC, Mark was a technical consultant at Hewlett Packard.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
He is also a CFA charterholder.

The affiliation of Mr Ng’s family members with GIC raises significant concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest and the potential for favouritism.
These considerations have the potential to impact Mr Ng Kok Song’s ability to carry out his duties as President impartially and without bias.
After a notable 27-year stint with GIC, Mr Ng co-founded Avanda Investment Management in 2015. Remarkably, just a year later, the company received a staggering sum of S$4 billion from Temasek.

Furthermore, the endorsement of Mr. Ng by PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, who attributed to him the pioneering of wealth management training in Singapore, leading to Temasek’s investment in the Wealth Management Institute in 2003, further underscores the intertwined professional journey they share.


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Changes in professional record of Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s son​

Staff Writer

30 August 2023


SINGAPORE: In a recent update, a member of the public informed Gutzy about a notable change in the professional record of Akilan Shanmugaratnam, the son of presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Akilan’s record on Contact.gov was altered, transferring him from the Department of Reserves and Investment Directorate Reserves Policy at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to the Social Programmes Directorate Education and Manpower.
This shift is said to have taken place between 10 am and 12.40 pm today.
Screenshot pre-30 August 2023

Screenshot post-30 August 2023, 12.40pm
The online community has been abuzz with Akilan’s initial appointment at the reserves department, specifically on the local forum fuckwarezone.
Netizens have been debating whether there could be a conflict of interest, given that Akilan’s father, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former People’s Action Party politician, had served as the Minister for Finance from 2007 to 2015.
One forum member stated, “Tharman left MOF in 2015, so if his son joined after 2015 means no issue. Anyway, it’s not uncommon for their children to work in CS, Temasek, or GIC.”
Meanwhile, another speculated, “Tomorrow will be promoted to another ministry?”
Given the recent changes to Akilan’s record, some are wondering whether this move is a promotion or, contrarily, a demotion.
The reasons and implications behind this change remain to be seen, but it has certainly piqued the interest of the public.


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3 years’ jail for senior cop who pocketed victim’s restitution money to pay for his holidays​


Mohamed Mohamed Jalil pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal breach of trust by misappropriation as a public servant. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Nadine Chua

Sep 22, 2023

SINGAPORE – A senior police officer was sentenced to three years’ jail after taking $43,000 worth of restitution money meant for a victim in a case he was investigating.
On Friday, Mohamed Mohamed Jalil, 54, a senior station inspector with the Singapore Police Force (SPF), pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal breach of trust by misappropriation as a public servant.
At the time of his offences, Mohamed, who joined the SPF in May 1989, was attached to the investigation branch of Tanglin Division.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yee Jia Rong said in March 2012, a woman, D, made a police report claiming her housemate, T, had pawned jewellery D had asked her to clean.
D also claimed T used money that D gave her for investment opportunities for her own purposes.
Mohamed was the investigation officer for this case.
Between April 2012 and March 2013, he told T she needed to make restitution of around $80,000 for the jewellery and money she got from D.

But Mohamed did this without the approval from SPF management or from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to arrange for restitution to be paid.
DPP Yee said Mohamed knew he needed approval before making such arrangements.
The DPP added that T trusted Mohamed and agreed to pay the amount.

Between March 2013 and November 2017, Mohamed collected $43,000 from T and her husband, on the basis that the money was to be given to D as restitution.
Mohamed initially received the cash from the couple at Tanglin Division.
He later arranged for the money to be transferred to his personal bank account, or physically collected it from various locations, such as carparks near Bedok Reservoir, T’s home and Novena Square.
Instead of passing the money to D, Mohamed used it to make rental payments and maintenance payments to his former wife, and for his vacations in the Philippines.

His offences were discovered when D’s daughter told the SPF in 2020 that Mohamed had returned some of the misappropriated jewellery to D and her family without proper documentation.
She said her mother had been unable to contact Mohamed since 2019 to follow up on the restitution money.
Mohamed was suspended from the SPF in July 2020.
The Straits Times has asked the SPF about whether further disciplinary action has been taken against Mohamed, and if he is still a police officer.
Seeking three years’ jail for Mohamed, DPP Yee said the hard-won reputation of law enforcement agencies cannot be taken for granted and must be protected.
He said: “Thus, in cases such as the present (one), where a law enforcement officer abuses the colour of his position and breaches public trust, severe punishment is necessary to reflect the damage inflicted to the standing of the institution that he represents.”
Mohamed, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency in mitigation.
District Judge Brenda Chua said his offences were serious and involved a significant amount of money.
She said: “As a law enforcement officer, the accused did not uphold the law, but instead used his position to commit the offences. The SPF needs to be protected from conduct of this nature.”


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CNB officer allegedly lied to cop, judge over then colleague’s assault on drug offender​



Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

Oct 8, 2023

SINGAPORE – A Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer allegedly lied to a policewoman in 2018 that his then colleague did not assault a drug offender, and gave a similar false account to a district judge in 2021.
Muhammad Heykal Rahman, 34, was charged last Wednesday with one count each of furnishing false information to a public servant, and giving false evidence before District Judge Salina Ishak at the State Courts in the case of Vengedesh Raj Nainar Nagarajan.
Vengedesh was under the influence of alcohol when he assaulted Malaysian drug offender Sivabalan Kanniappan to get a confession on Jan 2, 2017.
After Vengedesh was sentenced in 2022, Heykal was investigated for allegedly lying to a policewoman at the Central Police Divisional Headquarters on March 21, 2018.
He is accused of stating that Vengedesh did not assault Sivabalan in a toilet at the CNB office at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Heykal allegedly told a similar lie to Judge Salina during Vengedesh’s trial on May 6, 2021.
In a statement to The Straits Times on Monday, CNB did not state if Heykal is still an officer with the bureau, but said it had investigated the complaint against Vengedesh and referred the case to the police for a criminal investigation.

A CNB spokesperson added that following Vengedesh’s conviction and sentencing, the Attorney-General’s Chambers directed the police to further investigate Heykal’s conduct during the probe into Vengedesh’s case and trial.
The spokesperson said: “CNB officers are expected to maintain a high standard of integrity, and we do not condone actions that fall short of CNB’s high standard of professionalism. Officers who break the law will be dealt with, in accordance with the law.
“As court proceedings against Heykal are ongoing, we are unable to comment further.”

The case has been adjourned to November.
In proceedings over Vengedesh’s offences, the prosecution said in its submissions that Sivabalan was stopped for an inspection when he entered Singapore through the Woodlands Checkpoint at around 3.40am on Jan 2, 2017.
A blue bundle, suspected to contain controlled drugs, was found in a raincoat bag in the rear box of his motorcycle.
He was handed over to the CNB Woodlands team and an officer recorded a statement from him.
Sivabalan later provided a urine sample and Vengedesh, then a corporal with the bureau, was activated to attend to the case.

The court heard that Sivabalan noticed Vengedesh reeked of alcohol. The two men went to a toilet where Vengedesh spoke to Sivabalan. He later assaulted the Malaysian to get a confession from him.
Vengedesh’s offences came to light after doctors examined Sivabalan, who had complained of pain in his body, including in his left lower ribs. He then revealed that he had been assaulted.
In April 2022, Deputy Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok said in court documents: “Far from upholding the integrity of his profession, (Vengedesh) deliberately chose to use violence, and the fear of violence, as a means of extorting a confession from the helpless, handcuffed victim before him.
“This blatant violation of the sanctity and primacy of the rule of law in criminal proceedings must be met with an equally clear deterrent signal.”
Vengedesh, then 35, was sentenced to five years’ jail in April 2022 after Judge Salina convicted him of three counts of voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession from Sivabalan.
He was also ordered to give Sivabalan, then 34, a compensation of $4,500 for the latter’s pain and suffering.
Sivabalan was convicted of drug offences and sentenced to 15 years’ jail and 13 strokes of the cane.


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There is no cronyism.
It is not a golden parachute nor retirement job for her.
She got the job on merit: on the basis of her extensive experience in the education industry.

Former president Halimah Yacob named as new SUSS chancellor​


Madam Halimah Yacob will take over from Mr Stephen Lee as SUSS chancellor from Oct 1. PHOTO: MCI

Vihanya Rakshika

SEP 25, 2023

SINGAPORE – The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) announced on Monday the appointment of former president Halimah Yacob as its new chancellor, from Oct 1. She takes over from Mr Stephen Lee, who has held the position since 2018.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the new chancellor of SUSS,” said Madam Halimah.

“This university has a unique place in Singapore, with its mission to inspire learning for life... I look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure SUSS’ continued success in impacting society through applied social sciences.”

A leader of several firsts, Madam Halimah was elected as the ninth Speaker of Parliament in 2013 – the first woman to hold the position. She was also the country’s first female president and served a six-year term between 2017 and 2023. She was succeeded by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Mr Lee, the outgoing chancellor, had previously served as chairman of Singapore Airlines and as a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers, among other appointments.

SUSS president Tan Tai Yong said: “We are privileged to welcome Madam Halimah Yacob as our new chancellor. She has long been a champion of important social issues and an advocate for impacting lives. Her presence will make our university an even stronger force for doing good in society, encouraging learning for life, and positively influencing people’s lives.

“We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to Mr Stephen Lee for his strong support for SUSS over his five-year term as chancellor. Mr Lee has always been supportive of SUSS’ endeavours, and we have benefited much from his wisdom and guidance during our early years as an autonomous university.”


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Illegal clearing of Kranji woodland: Consultancy project director fined $20,000​


Tan See Chee pleaded guilty on Nov 7 to two charges under the Parks and Trees Act. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Nadine Chua

NOV 7, 2023

SINGAPORE - A project director of the consultancy linked to the unauthorised clearing of Kranji woodland in 2020 and 2021 was fined $20,000 on Tuesday.
Tan See Chee, 65, was part of a quartet of officers from JTC Corporation and CPG Consultants working on the development of Kranji Agri-Food Innovation Park (AFIP), which was planned to be a hub for high-tech farming and research and development activities.
The four officers were found to have acted in gross violation of wildlife-related requirements that needed to be met before getting approval from the National Parks Board (NParks) for the trees to be felled.
This led to the felling of 362 trees without approval.
Tan, who was appointed the qualified person and superintending officer for the project, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two charges under the Parks and Trees Act.
Three similar charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.
Tan is also an adjunct associate professor at the National University of Singapore Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The other three co-accused are Neo Jek Lin, 44, who was a JTC senior project manager at the time of the unauthorised clearing; Chong Pui Chih, 47, a former deputy director with the statutory board; and Jimmy Liu, 63, the vice-president of CPG.
Neo and Chong were fined $30,000 each in November 2022 for their roles in having the Kranji woodland cleared without approval.
In January, Liu admitted to three charges under the Parks and Trees Act and one charge under the Wildlife Act, and was fined $26,000.

Deputy public prosecutors Nicholas Khoo and Jordon Li said that in March 2019, the Government announced that a plot of land in Kranji Close and Kranji Road would be set aside for the development of the Kranji AFIP.
JTC was appointed the project owner and developing agency for the Kranji AFIP, and was responsible for its development and the engagement of consultants and contractors to plan, design and execute works there.
It then engaged CPG, which was responsible for the design and construction works at the Kranji AFIP, as well as ensuring necessary approvals were obtained from the relevant authorities before works were carried out.

As the qualified person for the project, Tan was responsible for carrying out design works and obtaining approvals from the authorities, among other duties.
The development of the Kranji AFIP was delayed after works were halted between April and August 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prosecutors said Tan and the three co-accused had discussed the impact of the wildlife-related requirements on the time needed to complete work on the Kranji AFIP.
Concerned about further delays to the project, Neo and Chong suggested that, instead of complying with the wildlife-related requirements before starting tree felling and site clearing, they proceed with the works while efforts were made concurrently to satisfy the requirements.
Tan agreed and ordered for the tree felling to be carried out without obtaining approval for the plan.
As a result, a total of 362 trees with girths exceeding 1m that were growing on vacant land at the Kranji AFIP were cut down.
The prosecutors said the number of trees cut in this case was enormous by any measure.
“While the exact impact on the environment cannot be calculated because the offences took place before any studies were undertaken, the potential harm caused was undoubtedly high, as evidenced by the large land size and the requirements which NParks had directed for before approval could be granted,” added the prosecution.
Several MPs had previously raised questions in Parliament about the unauthorised clearing of the land, which had come to light after aerial photos of the site appeared on social media.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing told Parliament then that investigations into the case found that two JTC officers had misrepresented facts and given inaccurate information to their superiors.
Mr Chan, who used to be the Minister for Trade and Industry, had said that the unauthorised clearance occurred between late December 2020 and Jan 13, 2021.
The woodland area was erroneously cleared, to the consternation of nature groups.
Nature experts had previously told ST that as the Kranji woodland area was located along the Rail Corridor, it was of strategic importance as a connector for animals to reach other areas.


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Singapore Silat Federation’s CEO Sheik Alau’ddin arrested for suspected criminal breach of trust​


Singapore Silat Federation’s chief executive Sheik Alau’ddin, a former world champion, was technical director before his current role. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

David Lee
Sports Correspondent

Nov 25, 2023

SINGAPORE – Two-time silat world champion and four-time Coach of the Year Sheik Alau’ddin, who is the Singapore Silat Federation’s (SSF) chief executive, is assisting the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with investigations.
In response to The Straits Times’ queries, the Singapore Police Force said on Nov 25: “The chief executive officer of the Singapore Silat Federation has been arrested on Nov 23, 2023 for suspected criminal breach of trust.”
It is unable to comment further as investigations are ongoing.
An SSF spokesperson confirmed that the 56-year-old Sheik “is assisting the CAD with investigations, following a police report filed by the SSF in February 2023 over financial irregularities in the organisation”, and it will cooperate with the CAD throughout its investigations where necessary.
ST had reported in February that the SSF had filed a police report against its finance director, following allegations of irregular salary payments to some coaches.
The financial director was then suspended by the federation before leaving in March.
SSF said then that it was told by national agency Sports Singapore that there were irregularities in the federation’s financial practices.

Subsequent checks revealed information that was “cause for serious concern”, and the SSF added it would review its internal processes and strengthen the system.
On Nov 23, the SSF informed journalists that a media day for the Dec 27-31 World Pencak Silat Championships and World Junior Pencak Silat Championships to be helmed by Sheik at the Peninsula Excelsior Singapore hotel on Nov 24 was rescheduled.
He had been expected to explain new rules in place for both tournaments in Singapore, alongside a live demonstration by national silat exponents.
A SportSG spokesman said it “is aware of the ongoing investigation by the CAD into the financial irregularities at the SSF involving its CEO”.
It added that it is working with the association to “safeguard against further financial risks and ensure that Team Singapore silat athletes will continue to be supported on their training needs”.


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Jail for man who gave $125k in bribes to then Sats officer​


Malaysian Tang Book Song was sentenced to seven months and a week in jail on Dec 15. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

DEC 15, 2023

SINGAPORE – A supervisor at a company that provided painting services gave bribes totalling $125,000 to a technical supervisor at Sats, the main ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Changi Airport.
Malaysian Tang Book Song, 61, who was working for GT Contractor at the time, was sentenced to seven months and a week in jail on Dec 15 after he pleaded guilty to a graft charge involving $120,000.
Three other graft charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.
Tang, who is also known as Wang Chin Chai, had engaged in a conspiracy with then director at K&T Building Construction Teo Yoke Chiang, to give the $120,000 to Lim Koon Chuan, a Sats technical supervisor at the time.
The money was given so that a firm called KJS Construction would be awarded a contract involving the maintenance of Sats airfreight terminals 1 to 6 from March 1, 2017 to Feb 28, 2020.
K&T was a subcontractor of KJS at the time. The prosecution said that Sats awarded the contract worth $1.2 million to KJS in a letter dated Jan 31, 2017.
Teo, then 56, was sentenced to nine months’ jail in May 2023. Lim, then 59, was sentenced to 15 months’ jail in August 2020. He worked at Sats from 1982 to 2017.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stacey Anne Fernandez said that Sats periodically awards a custodian contract for maintenance works at its airfreight terminals 1 to 6 relating to mechanical and electrical services.
On Dec 9, 2016, it called an open tender for the contract in the case.
Tang, who is a Singapore permanent resident, found out that Lim was soliciting “commission payments” for the award of the contract.

“Lim also told Tang that the bid for the upcoming tender should be placed at not more than $1.2 million in order to secure the contract,” said the DPP. “Tang told Lim that he could help Lim find a company which could submit a quotation for the tender.”
Tang contacted Teo some time before Jan 4, 2017, and told him that Lim wanted a 10 per cent cut of the tender price of $1.2 million if the job was awarded to Teo’s company. This amounted to $120,000.
Tang also proposed that if the company was awarded the contract, he would have a role in supervising the workers and be paid a salary.
Teo agreed to give Lim a bribe of $120,000, even though he knew that his company was not eligible for the tender. Its licence at the time only allowed it to bid for tenders of up to $700,000.
Teo then told his staff to approach KJS to put in a bid for the tender. KJS agreed, not knowing about the 10 per cent cut that Teo had agreed to pay Lim.
In January 2017, Tang received $120,000 from Teo and handed the amount to Lim.
Tang did not get any role in supervising the workers for the contract or any money that Teo had promised him.
Separately, Tang had also approached Lim to ask if there were any painting jobs, as business was then bad for his firm GT Contractor.
Lim came up with an arrangement where he would invite GT Contractor to quote for jobs offered by Sats. The latter would then award the jobs to GT Contractor.
As part of the plan, Tang had to give Lim the difference between the price that Sats was willing to offer, and the marked up amount quoted by GT Contractor. The total bribes in these cases came up to $5,000.