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There is no corruption in Singapore...

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Transport Minister S. Iswaran faces 27 charges including corruption, says he intends to plead not guilty​

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Transport Minister S. Iswaran arriving at the State Courts with his legal team including Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (left), on Jan 18. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Samuel Devaraj and Shaffiq Alkhatib

Jan 18, 2023

SINGAPORE - Transport Minister S. Iswaran was handed 27 charges in court on Jan 18.
A court officer told the court the charges were read to him before the hearing.
Iswaran, who was arrested in July 2023 by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), arrived at the State Courts at about 8am on Jan 18.
He arrived with his legal team, which includes Senior Counsel Davinder Singh from Davinder Singh Chambers, and did not comment when The Straits Times approached him.
The prosecution team is led by Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng, who is assisted by two Deputy Public Prosecutors, Jiang Ke Yue and Kelvin Chong.
Iswaran told the court he intends to claim trial.

The court heard that the charges are two counts of corruption, 24 counts for obtaining items from someone he had business dealings with as a public servant and one for obstructing the course of justice.

Iswaran, 61, was arrested by CPIB on July 11, 2023, following its investigation into a separate matter. He was then released on bail.
He was instructed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to take a leave of absence until investigations were completed.
His monthly pay was reduced to $8,500 until further notice, and he continues to draw his MP allowance.
On Jan 9, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing provided an update in response to a parliamentary question.
He said the CPIB has completed its investigation into Iswaran and the matter was before the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
The AGC has the prosecutorial discretion to decide whether a person is charged and the charge on which he is prosecuted.
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Mr Iswaran, 61, was arrested by CPIB on July 11, 2023, following its investigation into a separate matter. He was then released on bail. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Iswaran was elected into Parliament in 1997 as an MP for West Coast GRC, where he has served for the last 26 years.
He was promoted to full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2011, and has held ministerial positions in the ministries of education, home affairs, and communications and information.
Property tycoon Ong Beng Seng was also arrested on July 11 as part of the corruption probe. Mr Ong is the man who brought Formula One to Singapore in 2008.
This story is developing.
 

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Singapore Transport Minister S Iswaran charged with multiple offences including corruption​

Iswaran was handed 27 charges, including corruption, obtaining valuables as a public servant and obstructing justice.
Singapore Transport Minister S Iswaran charged with multiple offences including corruption

Transport Minister S Iswaran leaving the State Courts on Jan 18, 2024. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
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Lydia Lam

@LydiaLamCNA
18 Jan 2024

SINGAPORE: Transport Minister S Iswaran was charged in court on Thursday (Jan 18) with multiple offences including corruption and obtaining valuables as a public servant, months after a probe into him was made public.
He pleaded not guilty to 27 charges in all - two of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, one of obstructing justice and 24 of obtaining valuables as a public servant under the Penal Code.
The 61-year-old appeared at the court building at about 8.10am flanked by lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers law firm - led by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh.
He made no comment to the crowd of reporters that was waiting for him.

CHARGES​

The first corruption charge alleges that Iswaran, in his capacity as a government minister, corruptly obtained gratification totalling S$145,434 from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng. This was in exchange for advancing the latter's business interests relating to a contract between Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Mr Ong owns the rights to the Singapore Grand Prix and is chairman of race promoter Singapore GP.
Iswaran is accused of corruptly obtaining 10 Green Room tickets, eight tickets named "Twenty3" and 32 general admission tickets to the 2022 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix in September 2022.
These were worth about S$48,150, S$56,068 and S$41,216 respectively.
The second corruption charge states that Iswaran corruptly obtained from Mr Ong in December 2022 gratification in exchange for advancing his business interests over a contract with a public body over the Singapore GP-STB facilitation agreement, as well as a proposal for a contract with STB to establish the ABBA Voyage virtual concert in Singapore.
Iswaran was also handed one count of obstructing justice by making a repayment of S$5,700 to Singapore GP around May 25, 2023.
That was the cost of his business flight ticket from Doha to Singapore that he took on Dec 11, 2023, at Mr Ong's expense through Singapore GP, the charge sheet stated.
The remaining 24 charges are for obtaining valuable items as a public servant, being a minister of Singapore.
The charges are for a period between November 2015 and December 2021.
Iswaran is accused of obtaining the following as a minister of Singapore:
  • Two tickets to the show Thriller worth about £200 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK), whom he knew to have a connection with his official function as chairman of the F1 Steering Committee
  • Two tickets to the show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time worth about £270 from Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Two tickets to the football match for West Ham United FC v Everton FC (Boleyn Ground) worth about £468 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings UK
  • Two tickets to the football match for Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC (Emirates) worth about £550 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Ten Green Room tickets to the 2016 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$42,265 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Ten Green Room tickets to the 2017 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$42,265 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Five Boardwalk tickets to the 2017 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$40,000 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Four tickets to the show Book of Mormon worth about £540 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match of Chelsea FC v Southampton FC (Stamford Bridge) worth about £700 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the shows Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Part 2, worth about £1,000 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match for Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC (Emirates) worth about £1,100 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Kinky Boots worth about £300 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Six Twenty3 tickets to the 2018 Singapore Formula Grand Prix worth about S$13,193.10 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Thirteen general admission tickets to the 2018 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$16,744 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Four tickets to the show The Play That Goes Wrong worth about £380 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show School of Rock worth about £560 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the football match for Chelsea FC v Manchester City FC worth at least £120 from Mr Ong
  • Four tickets to the show Hamilton worth about £400 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Waitress worth about £524 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Four tickets to the show Betrayal worth about £1,080 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Six Green Room tickets to the 2019 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$26,643 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Sixteen general admission tickets to the 2019 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix worth about S$20,608 from Mr Ong through Singapore GP
  • Two tickets for the show Back to the Future worth about £449 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
  • Two tickets to the show &Juliet worth about £250 from Mr Ong through Como Holdings (UK)
Iswaran, who was also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, had been actively involved in the government’s engagements with F1, including making appearances at press conferences where announcements about the event’s future have been made.
He was arrested on Jul 11 last year.
The arrest was made public on Jul 14, although no details were provided at the time on the nature of the investigation. What was known was that Mr Ong had been arrested as well and asked to provide information relating to his interactions with the minister.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers said on Thursday that it will make a decision about the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigation into Mr Ong after the case against Iswaran is completed.
If convicted of obtaining a valuable thing as a public servant, Iswaran can be jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.
If convicted of corruptly obtaining gratification under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined up to S$100,000, or both.
If convicted of obstructing justice, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.
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Transport Minister S Iswaran at the State Courts on Jan 18, 2024. (Photo: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan)

WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT​

Dressed in a blue shirt and a dark jacket, Iswaran entered the courtroom at about 8.15am and stood in a huddle with his lawyers for almost an hour, listening to the charges being pre-read to him by a court employee.
District Judge Brenda Tan, who was presiding over the mentions court on Thursday morning, entered the courtroom at about 9.05am.
The prosecution was a three-man team led by Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng, along with Deputy Public Prosecutors Jiang Ke-Yue and Kelvin Chong.
Iswaran was represented by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Mr Navin Thevar, Mr Rajvinder Singh and Ms Sheiffa Safi Shirbeeni.
Chief Prosecutor Tan listed the charges Iswaran faced and asked for his plea to be taken. "CP, you are asking for the plea to be taken now?" asked Judge Tan.
Chief Prosecutor Tan confirmed this, and Iswaran spoke, saying: "Yes, I intend for the plea to be taken now. Not guilty, your honour."
The prosecutor then asked for the case to be adjourned for a pre-trial conference. He asked for agency bail - of S$800,000 - to be extended to Iswaran.
Iswaran's lead lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, then raised "a matter" with the judge on the number of charges.
He said: "Your honour, on Monday, the CPIB charged my client with 36 charges and took cautioned statements on all 36 charges. This morning, we learnt from documents that were handed to us by the prosecution that there are now 27 charges."
"I'd like to know from my learned friend whether the prosecution is proceeding with the remaining nine charges," said Mr Singh, turning to the chief prosecutor.
Chief Prosecutor Tan replied that the prosecution is not proceeding with the other nine charges after "considering all the evidence that was in this case".
Mr Singh then asked the court to note this decision.
"It would appear that in the matter of two days, a decision has been taken not to proceed with the nine charges," Mr Singh told the judge.
"According to my learned friend, that is because they have reviewed all the evidence. But I would have thought, your honour, that the evidence would've been reviewed thoroughly before the 36 charges were levelled against my client on Monday. And so, for now, all I would say is that it is surprising but highly significant that after what I assumed was a thorough review and the levelling of the nine charges, in a matter of two days, there has been a complete change of position. I will say no more about that for now," said Mr Singh.
In response, Chief Prosecutor Tan said: "I think my learned friend will understand that the evidence will include whatever the accused has stated in his cautioned statements. That's all I have to say so far. If my learned friend wants to pursue this subsequently we will address it in future."
After further back-and-forth, the judge fixed the case for a pre-trial conference on Mar 1.
After the charging, Iswaran retreated to a nook just outside the courtroom where he spoke to his lawyers for several minutes before choosing to take the escalators down four floors instead of the lift.
He declined to comment.
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Mr S Iswaran leaving the State Courts on Jan 18, 2024. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
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S Iswaran leaving the State Courts on Jan 18, 2024. (Photo: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan)

POLITICAL CAREER​

Iswaran had been Minister for Transport since May 2021. His political career spanned more than 26 years since he was first elected in 1997 as a Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC.
Before he was appointed to the Cabinet in 2006, he served on several government parliamentary committees and was the Deputy Speaker of Parliament from September 2004 to June 2006.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had placed Iswaran on a leave of absence during the CPIB investigation.
Mr Lee later revealed in parliament that Iswaran had his pay cut to S$8,500 (US$6,390) a month until further notice. But he was allowed to draw the full annual MP allowance of S$192,500.
It prompted the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) to file a motion requesting that Iswaran be suspended as an MP.
The PSP motion was rejected in parliament last September, with MPs voting instead to consider the matter when investigations against Iswaran conclude.
He resigned as minister, MP and as a member of the People's Action Party on Tuesday.

INCORRUPTIBILITY "ABSOLUTELY NON-NEGOTIABLE"

At the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) conference in November, Mr Lee spoke about the need to keep Singapore’s system clean. He also pledged that PAP's commitment to honesty and incorruptibility was "absolutely non-negotiable".
Without referencing Iswaran, he told party members: "If you wear white, you must be white. Whether in your party responsibilities or private dealings, never bring yourself or the party into disrepute. Do not abuse your position. Do not accept any favours, still less ask for them. It is shameful, it is wrong."
Mr Lee, who is the party’s secretary-general, added that the PAP must prove itself especially when it is tested, by putting principles into action "regardless of any embarrassment or political cost" and dealing with the issues "without fear or favour" while getting to the bottom of the matter.
 

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Singapore’s year of living scandalously​

19 January 2024
Author: Michael Barr, Flinders University
Last year was unprecedented in independent Singapore’s history. Difficulties have arisen in past years for the government, the economy, specific sections of the Singaporean populace or in terms of escalating repression, but 2023 encompassed all the above. Recovering Singapore’s reputation for clean governance will not be an easy task.

In January 2023, six executives of Keppel Corp, a government linked company, were found by the US Department of Justice to have paid US$55 million in bribes to win contracts with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. When the case reached Singapore, however, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) declined prosecuting or even identifying the culprits due to ‘lack of evidence’, issuing ‘stern warnings’ to the ex-Keppel executives instead.

In May 2023, two cabinet ministers fended off opposition suggestions that they had received special treatment when securing leases for luxury state-owned bungalows. It was especially awkward for Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam as the properties, which were part of his ministerial portfolio, had been leased to the ministers without undergoing a competitive tender process. In the course of his defence, Shanmugam disclosed that he was paying a monthly rent of S$26,500 — an explanation unlikely to win him much sympathy from ordinary Singaporeans living in public housing and facing a cost of living crisis.

Come July, investigations by the CPIB and former deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean cleared both ministers of any impropriety. But by then, Singaporeans were already reading about the next scandal — the CPIB’s arrest of Minister for Transport S Iswaran, on corruption charges related to Singapore’s successful bid to host the Formula One Grand Prix.

A week after the Iswaran story broke, the Speaker of Parliament and former prime ministerial aspirant Tan Chuan-Jin resigned over an extra-marital affair with another government MP, Cheng Li Hui, who also resigned. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admitted that he had known about the affair for years, but he did not seem overly concerned until early 2023, by which time Tan had become a liability for different reasons. Prime Minister Lee then allowed Tan to remain in parliament as Speaker for months after he had accepted his resignation.

On the same day that Tan’s affair was made public, years-old vision filmed with a hidden camera in a restaurant was anonymously posted on social media, showing an adulterous couple from the opposition Workers’ Party (though only one an MP) holding hands. This prompted some commentators to claim a degree of comparability with the Tan Chuan-Jin story without questioning the source or timeliness of the revelations.

A multi-billion-dollar money laundering case broke in mid-August, resulting in the arrest of ten young China-born millionaires who had built their fortunes on gambling and online fraud. They had blended quietly into the background by living like other millionaires, including holding membership of the prestigious Sentosa Golf Club and Singapore Island Country Club — both of which have been favoured by members of the political establishment for many decades.

It could be difficult for Singapore’s international reputation to recover from these scandals, but the government is doing its best to block domestic access to critical analysis of these scandals through legislation such as the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act. Yet another plank of the legislative framework of domestic censorship was enacted in December 2023 – FICA, the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act. The government’s reflexive response to crises has thus increasingly been to silence and intimidate critics, whether it be opposition leaders who investigate government ministers, critical commentators or those engaged in more personal attacks.

This marked the first year since 1996 that an investigation into corruption, or even impropriety, has impacted a cabinet minister. In 1996, then-prime minister Goh Chok Tong and finance minister Richard Hu personally investigated and cleared senior minister Lee Kuan Yew and deputy prime minister Lee Hsien Loong of any wrongdoing when they each accepted million-dollar discounts on a condominium development from a property developer. The same property developer was recently questioned by CPIB as part of the 2023 Iswaran investigation.

The Singaporean government would undoubtedly prefer to forget 2023. Still, it ended the year with news of generational leadership change, smoothing the way to the next general election which is scheduled for late 2025. Former deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was elected president with 70 per cent of the national vote after a popular alternative candidate was ruled ineligible. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong subsequently indicated he will hand over to his designated successor, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, sometime in 2024 ‘if all goes well’.

The government also announced a series of ultra-cautious welfare and housing measures aimed at helping the working poor, older Singaporeans and those who own flats of diminishing value in old housing estates.

It remains to be seen if these micro-reforms will be sufficient for the People’s Action Party to retain its current votes and seats in the upcoming general election. It is certainly an inauspicious time for a new leader to take over. Not that Wong will be alone — he will undoubtedly be aided by Lee Hsien Loong as senior minister, and perhaps Shanmugam as deputy prime minister.

Michael Barr is Associate Professor of International Relations at Flinders University. He is author of ‘The ruling elite of Singapore: networks of power and influence’ and ‘Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-Building Project.
 

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yes Singapore govt is corruption free. only stupid people will think spore govt corrupt. For those who think or believe spore govt corrupt, please use your brain and think and don't just think on the first layer, think deeper.
S'pore has the highest paid Ministers in the world, so why are we only ranked 3rd least corrupt country? We must be first or the citizens aren't getting value for their taxpayers' dollars! By the way, S'pore is ranked 4th in the world for crony capitalism - when politicians like Iswaran rub shoulders with billionaires like Ong Beng Seng.
 

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Former IPP director Goh Jin Hian liable for US$146M losses suffered by company: High Court​

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Goh Jin Hian served as a director of Inter-Pacific Petroleum from June 28, 2011 to Aug 20, 2019. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS FILE
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Grace Leong
Senior Business Correspondent

Feb 6, 2024

SINGAPORE - The High Court has found Goh Jin Hian, a former director of insolvent marine fuel supplier Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP), liable for breach of director’s duties, statutory duties and losses suffered by the firm amounting to US$146 million (S$196m) plus interest.
The liquidators of IPP had sued Goh to recover US$156 million in losses, accusing him of “sleepwalking through his time as a director” and failing to discover and stop drawdowns in trade financing between June 2019 and July 2019 to fund alleged non-existent or sham transactions.
The 55-year-old served as a director of IPP from June 28, 2011 to Aug 20, 2019.
According to the liquidators, the trade financing came from IPP’s two largest creditors - Malayan Banking (Maybank) and the Singapore branch of Societe Generale (SocGen).
It consisted of US$146 million drawn down for cargo trading operations, and US$10.5 million drawn from SocGen’s facility for IPP’s bunkering operations allegedly when IPP was balance-sheet insolvent.
High Court Justice Aedit Abdullah, in brief remarks issued on January 24, detailed the responsibilities of a company director.

He noted that while a director is not an internal auditor, checking every singular detail, the obligation is to monitor the affairs of the corporation.

“This entails, among others, at least broad level supervision of the activities of the officers of the corporation, for the protection of the company, shareholders and creditors,” the judge said.
He found that Goh, the son of former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, had “breached the fiduciary duty owed to the company to take into account the interests of the creditors”.
“It is not necessary for the company to be actually insolvent; the duty arises when the company is in parlous state.

“I do find that the company was in difficulties at the least by June 2019, as indicated by it being balance-sheet insolvent then, and that it was in financial difficulties,” he said.
But the judge said the claim for the loss of $10.5 million “has not been made out” as IPP has “not sufficiently shown how this claim arose out of the breach in question”.
In response to The Straits Times’ questions, Goh said: “I am considering an appeal against the judgment and will discuss this with my lawyers.”
According to Goh’s opening statement, IPP’s cargo trades and its books and records were directly managed out of its Hong Kong office by Ms Zoe Cheung, a former director and 85 per cent shareholder, and former chief financial officer Wallace To.
“If Dr Goh (was suspicious about) IPP’s finances, and was inclined to investigate, he would require Zoe and Wallace’s cooperation,” it said.

The judge found that the defendant played an active role in the management of the company, adding that the evidence did not show he reduced his role to a purely non-executive one after July 2015.
“The defendant in his specific circumstances owed the duty to be fully apprised of the affairs of the company, especially those relating to its profitability or otherwise.
“That thus entailed a need for him to be aware of and to monitor all the activities, including the cargo trading business.”
Justice Abdullah said Goh showed a lack of knowledge of IPP’s cargo trading business, which was a significant portion of the company’s activity.
“What was adduced by the plaintiff did sufficiently make out ignorance,” the judge said.
During the High Court trial in April 2023, Senior Counsel Lok Vi Ming, who represents Deloitte & Touche, IPP’s judicial managers turned liquidators, questioned why Goh failed to inquire and investigate a large amount of receivables – US$132 million – allegedly owed to IPP by Mercuria Energy Trading.
Had he done so, he would have learnt that the invoices IPP issued to Mercuria from September 2017 to February/March 2018 were for bogus transactions, and he would have prevented IPP from drawing down on the trade financing with SocGen and Maybank in June 2019 and July 2019.
The liquidators also alleged that Goh missed another opportunity to investigate IPP’s affairs in June 2019, when its bunker operator craft licence was suspended after the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore detected operational irregularities during an inspection.
They said that while Goh told the authority that IPP was “under tremendous financial strain”, he did so “without bothering to check IPP’s financial position”.
This is because if he had done so, he would have “discovered that there were receivables amounting to about US$964.9 million as of June 2019”.
And if he had checked on the validity and accuracy of these receivables, “the sham transactions would have been exposed”, the liquidators argued.
The judge found that due to Goh’s failure to act on several red flags that had emerged around Feb 7, 2018, “the full extent of the losses claimed by IPP should be allowed”.
“Loss was caused to the plaintiff through the transactions and drawdowns which should not have been carried out and would not have been had the defendant performed his duties,” the judge ruled.
On Goh’s defence relating to the adequacy of information provided within IPP, Justice Abdullah found the information insufficient to answer the queries “that should have been pursued by the defendant as a director, given both the magnitude and the circumstances of these financial issues”.
“An honest and reasonably diligent director would have persisted and probed further,” he noted.
“I do find that on the balance of probabilities, the fraud would have discovered had he inquired,” Justice Abdullah said.
“In particular, once (Goh) appreciated the large amount supposedly owed to (IPP) by Mercuria, he would have uncovered things that would have triggered at least if not an immediate call to the authorities, at least one soon after, staunching any loss to the company.
“This was, as noted by the plaintiff, something that he discovered fairly promptly in reality when he eventually realised that there was cargo trading being undertaken,” the judge noted.
Goh held 36 concurrent directorships between 2017 and August 2019.
In 2020, he stepped down as non-independent, non-executive chairman of healthcare and energy firm New Silkroutes Group and resigned as independent director of cord-blood banking firm Cordlife Group.
In September 2023, Goh and three other men were handed a total of 132 charges related to false trading offences in the State Courts.
Goh himself faced 39 charges under the Securities and Futures Act over allegations including manipulating the share price of New Silkroutes over various periods in 2018.
 

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CPIB investigates Seatrium, formerly Sembcorp Marine, for alleged corruption; company calls for trading halt​

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In March, Sembcorp Marine said that its Brazilian subsidiary, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz was being probed for alleged “irregularities”. PHOTO: SEMBCORP MARINE
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Colin Tan
Senior Correspondent

JUN 01, 2023

SINGAPORE – The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has started investigations into Seatrium, formerly known as Sembcorp Marine, for alleged corruption offences in Brazil.
CPIB said it was “acting on information received” when it began investigations against Seatrium and individuals in the offshore and marine engineering company, in a statement on Wednesday evening.
Seatrium requested for a trading halt pending release of an announcement, in a filing at 7.35am on Thursday before the Singapore stock market opened. The counter closed up 2.5 per cent at 12.3 cents on Wednesday.
When contacted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, a CPIB spokesman declined to provide further details because investigations are ongoing.
In its statement, the bureau underlined Singapore’s strict zero tolerance towards corruption, adding that it will investigate “without fear or favour”. It will not hesitate to take action against any parties involved in corrupt activities.
Seatrium was formed by the merger of Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine earlier this year. The combined group, described as one of the world’s largest O&M energy engineering companies with a total order book of almost $20 billion, was renamed in early April.
In March, Sembcorp Marine said its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, was being probed for alleged “irregularities” by the authorities there.

The proceedings were related to past conduct linked to an ongoing probe into money laundering and graft activities in connection with Operation Car Wash, it added.
The nationwide criminal investigation was launched by the federal police of Brazil in 2014 to look into money laundering activities and was later expanded to include allegations of corruption.
In April, Seatrium said Brazil’s preliminary administrative proceedings against its subsidiary had been suspended.
Separately, six former senior management staff of Keppel O&M were given stern warnings by the CPIB in January over bribe payments related to Brazil’s Petrobras contracts.
The six allegedly conspired with one another to give bribes amounting to about US$55 million (S$73 million) to foreign consultants involved in Keppel O&M’s business interests in Brazil.
The money was then used to pay bribes to officials of the Brazilian state-owned company, pertaining to rig-building contracts that it or its related firms awarded to Keppel O&M.
Keppel O&M also said in January that it had made full payment of the fines and damages payable worth 343.6 million reais (S$88.3 million) to Brazil under a leniency agreement.
 

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Seatrium posts $1.68b second-half loss, settles Brazil ‘Operation Car Wash’ claims for $182.4m​

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Seatrium’s second-half revenue surged by over 400 per cent during the the second half of FY2023 to $4.4 billion. PHOTO: ST FILE
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Ven Sreenivasan
Associate Editor & Senior Columnist

FEB 26, 2024

SINGAPORE – Seatrium reported a $1.68 billion net loss for the second half of its 2023 financial year, a more than tenfold increase from the $118.3 million loss for financial year 2022, and announced that it will undertake a 20:1 share consolidation exercise.
The share consolidation exercise is to increase market interest in, and the attractiveness of, its stock and is subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming annual general meeting, said Seatrium.
The company also announced that it has reached in-principle settlement agreements with the Brazilian authorities in relation to “Operation Car Wash”, a scandal involving allegations of payoffs to secure contracts in Brazil.
The agreements include a settlement payment of $670.7 million Brazilian reals (about S$182.4 million) in relation to Operation Car Wash, an alleged scandal relating to payoffs for energy-related contracts in the South American country. In addition, it said it had “also made a provision of $82.4 million for indemnity to Keppel Corporation in relation to this matter”.
Seatrium chief executive officer Chris Ong said the the in-principle settlement agreements with the Brazilian authorities on the settlement payments allowed the company to move forward as a new organisation.
“With the combination successfully completed, the group is on track with its transformational journey led by a diverse, international board and an experienced management team,” he said. “Our focus will be on executing our strategy to build a sustainably profitable and resilient business.”
Formerly known as Sembcorp Marine, Seatrium posted a net loss of $1.9 billion for the full year, compared with net profit of $261 million for the 2022 financial year.

The bottom line was weighed down by non-cash writedowns, provisions for contracts, legal and corporate claims, as well as merger expenses in financial year 2023, which totalled $2 billion.
During the year, the company wrote off $552 million of property, plant and equipment and $51 million in right-of-use assets. These were mainly shipyard assets deemed no longer core to the group following its business transformation.
Excluding exceptional items, the company posted an underlying net loss of $28 million for the year.
At the top line, Seatrium’s revenue surged by over 400 per cent during the second half of financial year 2023 to $4.4 billion. Full-year revenue was $7.3 billion, a threefold increase over the $1.9 billion in financial year 2022.
Reflecting Seatrium’s improved operational performance, its earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) in 2023 were $236 million, a reversal from a negative Ebitda of $7 million in 2022.
Excluding exceptional items, underlying Ebitda jumped 456 per cent to $628 million, from $113 million in the 2022 financial year.
Seatrium said it achieved strong order wins of $4.5 billion in financial year 2023 and year-to-date 2024. Its net order book stood at $16.2 million. Of this, approximately 39 per cent comprised renewables and cleaner-green solutions.
The company also announced it had secured over $3.5 billion in new loans, refinancing and trade financing, including over $2.5 billion in green or sustainability-linked facilities during the year.
Its net gearing at end-December 2023 stood at 0.12 times, compared with 0.26 times as at Dec 31, 2022.
 

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Ex-FAS deputy director duped football body into disbursing over $609,000 to firms linked to him​

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Rikram Jit Singh Randhir Singh dishonestly induced FAS to disburse $609,380, from which he and his wife, Asya Kirin Kames, made a profit of $127,896. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
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Wong Shiying

JAN 04, 2024

SINGAPORE – A former deputy director at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) exploited his position to ensure that the sporting body’s supply contracts were awarded to companies linked to him or his wife.
Rikram Jit Singh Randhir Singh has admitted to dishonestly inducing FAS to disburse $609,380, from which he and his wife, Asya Kirin Kames, made a profit of $127,896.
Their profits have been seized by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and will be returned to FAS, the court heard.
On Jan 3, the 43-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to 15 cheating charges. Another 30 similar charges will be taken into consideration for his sentencing on Jan 16.
Rikram joined FAS in December 2010 as a marketing manager and rose through the ranks to become a deputy director in July 2017.
FAS is responsible for developing and advancing football in Singapore, and is partially funded by Sport Singapore – a statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
The accused met Asya, 37, while she was working in the communications department at FAS in 2013.

Leaving FAS in December that year, she set up a company, called All Resources Network (ARN), specialising in event management and the sale of sporting and recreational goods.
Rikram and Asya spoke frequently as ARN regularly organised or supported FAS events. They soon became romantically involved, and were married in February 2018.
In February 2016, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) agreed for FAS to produce and disseminate clappers, stress balls, scroll banners and football scarves.

These would carry NCPG imagery and be distributed at S-League’s matches and youth outreach programmes.
Rikram convinced former colleague Pallaniappan Ravindran, 51, not to wind down an unprofitable company, Myriad Sports & Events, so he could use it as a front to quote for supply jobs that he would then pass to ARN.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said Ravindran agreed to the scheme because of his friendship with Rikram but did not know who the actual supplier would be.
In one instance, Ravindran submitted a quotation for 130,000 clappers valued at $28,600.
FAS requires procurements valued between $3,000 and $50,000 to have at least three quotations. To fulfil the requirement, Rikram instructed his subordinate to find two other quotations, even though he had already decided to buy the items from Myriad.
DPP Thiagesh said: “(The subordinate) understood this to mean that she was to create fictitious quotations which were higher than Myriad’s quotations to justify the approval of supply jobs to Myriad.”

On Rikram’s recommendation, the FAS management approved Myriad’s quotations, disbursing $116,335 to it for clappers, stress balls, scroll banners and football scarves between July 2016 and February 2017.
The funds were handed to the accused, and ARN supplied the items to FAS.
Based on the charges proceeded with, Rikram worked with Asya and Ravindran to dupe FAS into disbursing a further $287,300 to Myriad between October 2017 and October 2018.
In June 2017, MSF once again engaged FAS to produce clappers, stress balls, banners and scarves with NCPG imagery to be distributed at S-League matches.
In October that year, Asya transferred ownership of ARN to Rikram’s friend, Shankar Suppiah, 47. She was planning to marry the accused and did not want FAS to find out about their conflict of interest.
Asya, however, still controlled ARN and would receive 60 per cent of the firm’s profits.
Rikram instructed Shankar to submit a quotation, prepared by Asya, for the supply of stress balls worth $27,300.
Once again, he instructed his subordinate to find two other quotations. He then recommended ARN’s to the FAS management, which approved it.
Rikram worked with Asya and Shankar to dupe FAS into disbursing a further $58,100 for the supply of clappers and banners, the court heard.
Their offences came to light when CPIB received information in January 2019 that Rikram had misappropriated money from FAS.
DPP Thiagesh said FAS’ independent audit conducted afterwards found it had not paid more than the market rate for the items supplied by ARN.
“As such FAS did not incur any material loss. All the jobs that Myriad and ARN quoted for were completed,” he added.
Seeking a jail term of 24 to 30 months for Rikram, the DPP said the accused’s offences involved a misuse of public funds and were difficult to detect by virtue of his position as deputy director.
Defence lawyer Satwant Singh asked for a shorter jail term of nine to 12 months, saying that his client did not misuse the funds, which fulfilled a purpose.
Shankar was sentenced to four months’ jail in November 2022 after pleading guilty to five counts of cheating.
Asya’s and Ravindran’s cases are pending.
 

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There is no cronyism in Singapore....

Grace Fu elected unopposed as Singapore National Olympic Council president​

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Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu will serve as Singapore National Olympic Council president until 2026. PHOTO: SINGAPORE NATIONAL OLYMPIC COUNCIL
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Deepanraj Ganesan

JAN 06, 2024

SINGAPORE – Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu was elected unopposed as the new president of Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and will serve till 2026, the organisation said on Jan 5.
She had joined SNOC last October and was co-opted as a member to its executive committee.
Former president Tan Chuan-Jin, who helmed the body since 2014, had quit the post in July. He had done so a day after resigning from the People’s Action Party, as Speaker and Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, over an extramarital affair with Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui, who had also resigned.
Jessie Phua, the former Singapore Bowling chief, was subsequently appointed as SNOC’s acting president. She now resumes her duties as one of the four vice-presidents.
The extraordinary general meeting was held at the Singapore Sports Hub with 141 delegates representing 42 ordinary members, two associate members and five provisional members in attendance.
Speaking after the meeting, Ms Fu, who was previously the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth from 2015 to 2020, said she was “thankful for the privilege to serve the SNOC and the Olympic movement”.
She added: “I hope we can continue to work together with our NSAs and stakeholders to realise the potential of our athletes to bring Singapore sport to greater heights and continue to create opportunities for our athletes to represent Singapore at the major Games.

“I would like to extend my appreciation to my fellow executive committee members and our national sports association (NSA) affiliates for their support, and to Mrs Jessie Phua for her contribution as acting president.”
Aside from Phua, Ms Fu is SNOC’s first female leader. Past presidents include ministers E.W. Barker, Dr Yeo Ning Hong and Mr Teo Chee Hean.
SNOC is a non-profit organisation that co-ordinates the selection of Singapore athletes for major Games like the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and SEA Games. It also maintains discipline among Singaporean athletes through its code of conduct.


In 2020, nine national Under-23 footballers who broke curfew at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines were handed fines between $1,000 and $2,000.
In October 2022, national swimmers Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei were fined $10,000, $2,800 and $3,200 respectively by SNOC for breaching its code of conduct.
Last June, SNOC did not select national distance runner Soh Rui Yong for the Sept 23-Oct 8 Asian Games in Hangzhou as he had failed to “honour commitments which he had provided to the SNOC, including on occasions following his participation at the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games”.
SNOC’s executive committee comprises International Olympic Committee member Ng Ser Miang, vice-presidents Juliana Seow, Benedict Tan, Lawrence Leow and Phua, secretary-general Chris Chan, assistant secretary-general Edmund Lim, honorary treasurer Lee Wung Yew, three NSA representatives and five co-opted members.
Mark Chay, Singapore Aquatics president and one of three NSA representatives, said Ms Fu is a “well-known figure in the sports fraternity, admired and respected for her extensive knowledge and passion for the sports ecosystem in Singapore”.
He added: “Her appreciation for her role as well as the significance of SNOC cannot be overstated. She recognises the vital role SNOC plays, both locally and internationally, in promoting sports and supporting NSAs...
“Her track record speaks for itself, and I am certain that she will go above and beyond in ensuring that our athletes receive the support and resources they need to excel on the international stage.”
Singapore Athletics president Lien Choong Luen added: “The selection of athletes to represent Singapore is one of the core tasks of the SNOC, and not an easy one as we try to balance current performance and developing athletes with potential for the future.
“There are lots of competitions in the pipeline and we look forward to working closely with the SNOC to make sure that we do our best for our athletes.”
 

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Jail for ex-FAS deputy director who duped sports body of over $609k; wife gets discharge​

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Rikram Jit Singh Randhir Singh (left) was sentenced to 55 weeks' jail, while his wife Asya Kirin Kames was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal. PHOTO: ST FILE
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Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

JAN 17, 2024

SINGAPORE – A former Football Association of Singapore (FAS) deputy director, who exploited his position to ensure the organisation’s supply contracts were awarded to companies linked to him or his wife, was sentenced to 55 weeks in jail on Jan 16.
Rikram Jit Singh Randhir Singh had dishonestly induced FAS to disburse $609,380, from which he and his wife, Ms Asya Kirin Kames, made a profit of $127,896.
Rikram, 43, had pleaded guilty on Jan 3 to 15 cheating charges. Another 30 charges were considered during sentencing.
Ms Asya, 36, was earlier handed 46 charges, mainly for cheating. On Jan 16, all of her charges were withdrawn, and she was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal. This means she cannot be charged again with the same offences.
When asked for the reasons behind this move, the Attorney-General’s Chambers told The Straits Times in a statement on Jan 17: “(We) considered all the facts and circumstances of the case, including the fact that (the couple) cooperated fully with the authorities.
“Rikram pleaded guilty to the charges and all profits earned by All Resources Network (ARN) were returned to FAS.”
The couple’s lawyer, Mr Satwant Singh, told ST: “The family is relieved that the matter is over, and they can now move on with their lives.”

In November 2022, Shankar Suppiah, then 45, who was linked to the case, was sentenced to four months in jail after he pleaded guilty to his role in cheating FAS.
He was then the sole proprietor of ARN, which specialised in event management and the sale of sporting and recreational goods. ARN was a supplier of FAS at the time of the offences.
The case involving another man, Pallaniappan Ravindran, 50, is still pending.

Rikram had met Ms Asya while she was working in the communications department at FAS in 2013.
She then set up ARN after leaving FAS in December that year.
Rikram and Ms Asya spoke frequently as ARN regularly organised or supported FAS events. They soon became romantically involved, and later got married.
In February 2016, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) agreed that FAS would produce and disseminate clappers, stress balls, scroll banners and football scarves.
These would carry NCPG imagery and be distributed at S-League matches and youth outreach programmes.

Rikram managed to convince Pallaniappan, a former colleague, not to wind down an unprofitable company called Myriad Sports & Events so that it could be used as a front to quote for supply jobs.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Thiagesh Sukumaran had earlier said that Pallaniappan agreed to the scheme because of his friendship with Rikram.
In one instance, Pallaniappan submitted a quotation for 130,000 clappers valued at $28,600.
FAS requires procurements valued between $3,000 and $50,000 to have at least three quotations.
To fulfil the requirement, Rikram instructed his subordinate to find two other quotations, even though he had already decided to buy the items from Myriad.
DPP Thiagesh had earlier told the court: “(The subordinate) understood this to mean that she was to create fictitious quotations which were higher than Myriad’s quotations to justify the approval of supply jobs to Myriad.”
On Rikram’s recommendation, the FAS management approved Myriad’s quotations, disbursing $116,335 to it for clappers, stress balls, scroll banners and football scarves between July 2016 and February 2017.
ARN then supplied the items to FAS.
In June 2017, MSF once again engaged FAS to produce clappers, stress balls, banners and scarves with NCPG imagery to be distributed at S-League matches.
In October that year, Ms Asya transferred ownership of ARN to Shankar, who was Rikram’s friend. However, she still controlled ARN and would receive 60 per cent of the firm’s profits.

Rikram instructed Shankar to submit a quotation, prepared by Ms Asya, for the supply of stress balls worth $27,300.
Once again, Rikram instructed his subordinate to find two other quotations. He then recommended ARN’s quotation to the FAS management, which approved it.
By using similar methods, he had dishonestly induced FAS to disburse $609,380 in all.
 

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Former Sembcorp Marine CEO and ex-Jurong Shipyard senior GM charged with bribing Brazil officials​

Tan Nai Lun

MAR 28, 2024

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Lee Fook Kang and Wong Weng Sun at the State Courts on Mar 28, 2024. (Photos: CNA/Eugene Goh)

SINGAPORE - Two individuals related to Seatrium, formerly Sembcorp Marine, have been charged with corruption offences involving the payment of bribes for the benefit of persons in Brazil.
The public prosecutor is also in discussions with Seatrium on a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that will require the company to pay a financial penalty for the alleged corruption offences, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in a joint statement on March 28.
The two individuals charged are Wong Weng Sun – who was Sembcorp Marine’s president, executive director and chief executive officer, and managing director of subsidiary Jurong Shipyard at the time of the alleged offences; and Lee Fook Kang – senior general manager of Jurong Shipyard at the time of the alleged offences.
Wong, 62, and Lee, 75, each faces five charges of conspiring to corruptly give gratification to Guilherme Esteves de Jesus (GDJ), a former consultant with Seatrium, for the benefit of persons in Brazil, to advance the business interests of the company’s subsidiaries in Brazil.
The alleged offences took place between 2009 and 2014, where a total sum of around US$44 million (S$59.3 million) was handed to GDJ.
Wong has also been charged with obstruction of justice.
He allegedly instructed two employees of Seatrium in 2014 to remove an email sent by GDJ containing evidence of bribes that GDJ had given or would be giving to other persons.

As for the proposed DPA, the company will likely be required to pay a financial penalty of US$110 million (S$148 million). Up to US$53 million of the amount may be used to offset the settlement payment totalling 670,699,731.73 Brazilian real, which are under the in-principle settlement agreements that the company has reached with the authorities in Brazil.
This is a settlement under which the prosecution agrees to defer criminal charges against a corporate offender, in exchange for the corporation’s agreement to comply with various conditions, such as admission of wrongdoing, payment of financial penalties, and implementation of corporate reform.
Contents and terms of the DPA remain to be worked out and agreed upon. It will also have to be approved by the General Division of the High Court before it comes into force.
The AGC said it considered all the relevant factors in this case, including the available evidence, and assessed that there was sufficient evidence to mount a prosecution.
This is unlike the Keppel Offshore & Marine case where there were evidentiary difficulties, it added.
In May 2023, the CPIB said it was “acting on information received” and investigating Seatrium, and individuals from the company for alleged corruption offences in Brazil.
This comes after Seatrium in March 2023 issued a notice that its wholly owned subsidiary, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, was being investigated for “alleged irregularities” in its practices.
Any person convicted of a corruption offence can be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined up to $100,000. Any person convicted of an offence of obstruction of justice can be imprisoned for up to seven years and/or fined.
 
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Iswaran faces 8 new charges over obtaining $19k in items including Brompton bike, golf clubs​

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Former transport minister S. Iswaran pleaded not guilty to the eight additional charges. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY
Samuel Devaraj and Wong Shiying

MAR 26, 2024

SINGAPORE – Former transport minister S. Iswaran was handed eight new charges in court on March 25.
These are under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which makes it an offence for public servants to accept gifts from someone involved with them in an official capacity.
When asked by District Judge Brenda Tan, Iswaran – who now faces 35 charges in total – said he pleaded not guilty to the additional charges.
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement on March 25 that Iswaran had allegedly obtained, as a public servant, valuables with a total value of about $18,956.94 from a Lum Kok Seng.
Iswaran had allegedly known him to be involved in business that had a connection with his official function as minister for transport.
These alleged offences were committed between November 2021 and November 2022.
According to charge sheets, the items include bottles of whisky, golf clubs and a Brompton bicycle that cost $7,907.50.

The business transacted involved a contract between Lum Chang Building Contractors and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for addition and alteration works to Tanah Merah MRT station and existing viaducts.

The website of Lum Chang, a property management, interior design and construction firm, lists Mr Lum as its managing director.
The firm’s construction arm, Lum Chang Building Contractors, has taken on multibillion-dollar civil, building and infrastructural projects in Singapore, including being the main contractor for Bukit Panjang MRT station along the Downtown Line.

An LTA spokesperson said on March 25 that the statutory board has two ongoing projects with Lum Chang Building Contractors, including the one at Tanah Merah station that was awarded in October 2016.
The other project is the construction of the North-South Corridor tunnel between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 9 that was awarded in December 2018.
“LTA has not awarded any contract to Lum Chang Building Contractors since 2019,” the spokesperson added.

An Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) spokesperson said it will take a decision in respect of the investigations against Mr Lum after the case against Iswaran has been completed, including the presentation of evidence in court.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Lum Chang spokesperson pointed to a statement by its board of directors issued to employees on March 25.
The statement said the board is aware that Mr Lum and Lum Chang Building Contractors were mentioned in media reports involving Iswaran and will make an announcement when there are material developments in the case.
Iswaran arrived in court on March 25 at about 8.20am with members of his legal team from Davinder Singh Chambers.
Speaking to the media gathered outside the court, he said: “Sorry you all had to get up so early this morning.”
As he walked towards the court trailed by members of the media, one of them tripped and fell, and Iswaran helped him pick up his belongings.

Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng told the court that the purpose of the March 25 hearing was to tender eight additional charges against Iswaran and transmit the new charges to the High Court.
Mr Navin Shanmugaraj Thevar, one of Iswaran’s lawyers, questioned why the new charges were tendered only now, and if the prosecution intended to file more charges against his client.
Mr Thevar said the prosecution recorded 36 cautioned statements from Iswaran in January 2024 but handed the former minister only 27 charges at his first court hearing on Jan 18.
“The eight new charges today were not part of the 36 (cautioned statements),” the defence lawyer added.
A cautioned statement sets out a notice for an accused person to provide his defence in response to an offence he is being charged with.
Mr Thevar added that the eight new charges related to matters that the CPIB had questioned Iswaran over in July and August 2023.
He said: “On March 16, three days before the criminal case disclosure conference (CCDC) at the High Court, CPIB called my client in and he was served eight new charges.”
During a CCDC, the prosecution and the defence disclose information about the case to facilitate the trial process.
Mr Thevar added: “When Mr Iswaran asked CPIB when the charges would be brought in court, he was told a decision had not been made.”
Chief Prosecutor Tan said in response that all charges tendered against Iswaran were based on evidence uncovered by CPIB and they had been reviewed by the AGC.
He added that the State Courts was not the right forum for such issues and urged the defence to raise them in the High Court instead.
Iswaran, 61, was charged at the State Courts on Jan 18 and his case was later transferred to the High Court. A chambers hearing was fixed for April 2 for the prosecution and the defence to exchange information ahead of the trial.
Those who have ongoing High Court cases will have to return to the State Courts if additional charges are filed against them.
Iswaran initially faced 27 charges, including two for corruption.
The corruption charges relate to alleged bribes obtained from billionaire Ong Beng Seng as inducement for advancing the hotel and property tycoon’s business interests in relation to agreements between race promoter Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Mr Ong, who is chairman of Singapore GP, is credited with bringing the Formula One Grand Prix to Singapore.

Iswaran initially faced 24 counts under Section 165. He is the first reported person to be charged under the section.
These charges are for allegedly obtaining, as a minister, items with a total value of more than $200,000 from Mr Ong between November 2015 and December 2021.
These items include tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix, football matches and musicals in Britain.
Iswaran was also handed a charge of obstructing the course of justice for allegedly making repayment of $5,700 in May 2023 for the cost of a business class flight ticket that he purportedly took in 2022 at Mr Ong’s expense.
Iswaran was elected in 1997 as an MP for West Coast GRC, where he served for 26 years. He was promoted to full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2011.
He resigned from the People’s Action Party in January 2024 and stepped down as transport minister and West Coast GRC MP.
Following his court appearance on Jan 18, Iswaran issued a statement declaring his innocence and said he would focus on clearing his name. He was granted $800,000 bail.
He was allowed to leave Singapore from Feb 16 to March 4 to help his son settle in at a university in Melbourne.
The prosecution imposed several conditions to this application, including additional $500,000 bail and having to provide the investigation officer with his itinerary and his address overseas.
ST had reported that during his trip, Iswaran was admitted to private hospital Cabrini Malvern in Melbourne for respiratory illness.
He was advised by his doctor not to travel for 12 days following his discharge from the hospital on March 5.
He returned to Singapore and surrendered his passport to the authorities, the AGC said on March 20.

On Feb 5, Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu told Parliament that STB was conducting an audit of the 2022 edition of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, following allegations of corruption against Iswaran.
She said that to safeguard Singapore’s interests, the Ministry of Trade and Industry was also reviewing the terms of the deal between STB and Singapore GP to organise the F1 night race here.
For each corruption charge, Iswaran can be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to seven years, or both.
He can be fined, jailed for up to two years, or both, for obtaining valuables from someone he had business dealings with as a public servant.
For obstructing the course of justice, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.
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According to the Prime Minister’s Office website, Mr Lum was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010 in his capacity as patron of Ayer Rajah-West Coast Citizens’ Consultative Committee.
Ayer Rajah is part of West Coast GRC, where Iswaran served as MP from 1997 till his resignation in January 2024.
The Public Service Medal is awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore, or for his achievement in fields including business, sports and the sciences.

Who is Lum Kok Seng, the man named in Iswaran’s new charges?​

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Iswaran (right) is said to have obtained items such as a Brompton bicycle, golf clubs and bottles of whisky from Mr Lum Kok Seng between November 2021 and November 2022. PHOTOS: LUM CHANG, ST SHINTARO TAY
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Wong Shiying

MAR 27, 2024

SINGAPORE – Former transport minister S. Iswaran was handed eight new charges on March 25 that allege he had obtained, as a public servant, valuable items worth nearly $19,000 from Mr Lum Kok Seng.
Iswaran is said to have obtained items such as a Brompton bicycle, golf clubs and bottles of whisky from Mr Lum between November 2021 and November 2022.
Iswaran, who was appointed transport minister in May 2021 and resigned from the post in January 2024, allegedly knew that Mr Lum was linked to a Land Transport Authority (LTA) contract for works at Tanah Merah MRT station through the latter’s company, Lum Chang Building Contractors (LCBC).
Iswaran now faces a total of 35 charges, 32 of which are under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which makes it an offence for a public servant to accept gifts from someone involved with him in an official capacity.
His remaining charges comprise two for corruption and one for obstructing the course of justice. Iswaran pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Lum Chang spokesperson referred to a statement by its board of directors issued on the Singapore Exchange website on March 25.
The statement said the board is aware that Mr Lum and LCBC were mentioned in media reports involving Iswaran and will make an announcement when there are material developments in the case.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said it will take a decision in respect of the investigations against Mr Lum after the case against Iswaran has been completed, including the presentation of evidence in court.
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Mr Lum, a Singaporean, is listed as managing director of Lum Chang Holdings (LCH) – a property management, interior design and construction firm – on the company’s website.
Iswaran is said to have obtained valuable items, including a Brompton T Line bicycle worth around $7,900, a set of golf clubs worth $4,420 and 22 bottles of wine and whisky worth more than $5,000 from Mr Lum.

According to LCH’s 2023 annual report, Mr Lum is also listed as a director of LCH’s construction arm, LCBC, among other subsidiaries.
The report states that Mr Lum has around 50 years of industry experience and led the expansion of the company’s property development activities in Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. He is listed as being 74 years old in the June 2023 annual report.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office website, Mr Lum was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010 in his capacity as patron of Ayer Rajah-West Coast Citizens’ Consultative Committee.
Ayer Rajah is part of West Coast GRC, where Iswaran served as MP from 1997 till his resignation in January 2024.
The Public Service Medal is awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore, or for his achievement in fields including business, sports and the sciences.

Tanah Merah MRT station project​

Iswaran’s latest charges state that the former minister knew Mr Lum was involved in a contract for works at Tanah Merah MRT station when he allegedly obtained the items.
The contract involving Tanah Merah MRT station is worth $325 million, according to LCH’s annual report.
The project, which was awarded to LCBC by LTA in October 2016, involves addition and alteration works to the station and its existing viaducts.
Slated to be completed in 2025, the project includes the construction of an additional platform and concourse in the station, along with two entrances linked by an underpass near the Tanah Merah Kechil Avenue intersection.
LCBC has another ongoing project with LTA, namely the construction of the North-South Corridor tunnel between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 9.
This contract is worth $799 million.
It was awarded to LCBC in December 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2027.
According to the annual report, construction for the Tanah Merah station project and the North-South Corridor is progressing well.
LCBC was also the main contractor for Bukit Panjang MRT station on the Downtown Line.
 

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Brompton T Line bike, whisky, golf clubs: What are the valuables involved in Iswaran’s new charges?​

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According to court documents, S. Iswaran allegedly obtained as a public servant, from Mr Lum Kok Seng, valuables with a total value of $18,956.94. PHOTOS: MAISON ALBERT BICHOT, BROMPTON, HONMA
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Samuel Devaraj

MAR 26, 2024

SINGAPORE – Former transport minister S. Iswaran now faces a total of 35 charges in relation to items worth around $400,000.
He was handed eight new charges on March 25. They allegedly involve Mr Lum Kok Seng, the managing director of Lum Chang, a property management, interior design and construction firm.
According to court documents, Iswaran allegedly obtained as a public servant, from Mr Lum, valuables with a total value of $18,956.94.
The former minister had allegedly known Mr Lum to be involved in a business that had a connection with his official function as minister for transport.
The items connected to the eight new charges are:
1. Four bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky, worth about $1,084.46 in total, obtained around November 2021.
2. Two bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky worth a total of $542.23, three bottles of L’Evangile 2014 wine worth a total of $394.20, three bottles of Pauillac De Latour 2015 wine worth a total of $186.31, three bottles of Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015 wine worth a total of $1,177.21 and three bottles of Pichon Lalande 2010 wine worth a total of $955.80. These items were obtained around January 2022.

3. A $749 TaylorMade golf driver, obtained around January 2022.
4. Two bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky, with a total value of $542.23, obtained around May 2022.
5. A $4,420 set of Honma Beres BE-08 Black AQ MX golf clubs, obtained around June 2022.

6. A $7,907.50 Brompton T Line bicycle, obtained around June 2022. T Line bicycles are the lightest bicycles made by the British brand.
7. Two bottles of M&H Elements Sherry Cask whisky, worth $198 in total, obtained around July 2022.
8. A $600 Scotty Cameron Phantom golf putter and two golf chippers, with a value of about $100 each. The clubs were obtained around November 2022.
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Interactive: Golf clubs, whisky and a Brompton bike - 8 new charges Iswaran faces
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Other items​

Iswaran was first handed 27 charges in January 2024.
He is accused of 24 counts of obtaining, as a minister, items with a total value of more than $200,000 from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng. Mr Ong is the man who brought Formula One (F1) to Singapore.

Iswaran allegedly received the following, either from Mr Ong directly, or through Como Holdings (UK) or Singapore GP:
1. Two tickets to the show Thriller, worth about £200 in total (S$429.94, according to court documents), obtained around November 2015.
2. Two tickets to the show The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, worth about £270 in total, obtained around November 2015.
3. Two tickets to the West Ham United Football Club (FC) v Everton FC (Boleyn Ground) football match, worth £468 in total, obtained around November 2015.
4. Two tickets to the Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC (Emirates Stadium) football match, worth about £550 in total, obtained around November 2015.
5. Ten Green Room (hospitality suite) tickets to the 2016 Singapore F1 Grand Prix (GP), worth $42,265 in total, obtained in September 2016.
6. Ten Green Room tickets to the 2017 Singapore F1 GP, worth $42,265 in total, obtained in September 2017.
7. Five boardwalk tickets to the 2017 Singapore F1 GP, worth about $40,000 in total, obtained in September 2017.
8. Four tickets to the show The Book Of Mormon, worth about £540 in total, obtained around December 2017.
9. Four tickets to the Chelsea FC v Southampton FC (Stamford Bridge) football match, worth about £700 in total, obtained around December 2017.
10. Four tickets to the shows Harry Potter And The Cursed Child: Part 1 and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child: Part 2, worth about £1,000 in total, obtained around December 2017.
11. Four tickets to the Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC (Emirates Stadium) football match, worth about £1,100 in total, obtained around December 2017.
12. Four tickets to the show Kinky Boots, worth about £300 in total, obtained around December 2017.
13. Six Twenty3 hospitality tickets to the 2018 Singapore F1 GP, worth $13,193.10 in total, obtained in September 2018.
14. Thirteen general admission tickets to the 2018 Singapore F1 GP, worth $16,744 in total, obtained in September 2018.
15. Four tickets to the show The Play That Goes Wrong, worth about £380 in total, obtained around December 2018.
16. Four tickets to the show School Of Rock, worth about £560 in total, obtained around December 2018.
17. Four tickets to the Chelsea FC v Manchester City FC (Stamford Bridge) football match, worth at least £120 in total, obtained around December 2018.
18. Four tickets to the show Hamilton, worth about £400 in total, obtained around June 2019.
19. Four tickets to the show Waitress, worth £524 in total, obtained some time around June 2019.
20. Four tickets to the show Betrayal, worth about £1,080 in total, obtained around June 2019.
21. Six Green Room tickets to the 2019 Singapore F1 GP, worth $26,643 in total, obtained some time in September 2019.
22. Sixteen general admission tickets to the 2019 Singapore F1 GP, worth $20,608 in total, obtained some time in September 2019.
23. Two tickets to the show Back To The Future, worth £449 in total, obtained around December 2021.
24. Two tickets to the show & Juliet, worth about £250 in total, obtained around December 2021.

Graft charges​

Iswaran was handed two graft charges in January 2024.
1. He allegedly corruptly obtained 10 Green Room tickets worth about $48,150, eight Twenty3 tickets worth $56,068 and 32 general admission tickets to the 2022 Singapore F1 GP worth $41,216. These tickets were obtained in September 2022.
2. In December 2022, he allegedly corruptly obtained an outbound flight on Mr Ong’s private plane from Singapore to Doha, worth about US$7,700 ($10,410.40, according to court documents); a night’s stay at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, worth $4,737.63, through Singapore GP; and a business class flight from Doha to Singapore, worth about $5,700, through Singapore GP.
They were purportedly an inducement for advancing Mr Ong’s business interests in matters relating to: a contract with a public body, the facilitation agreement between Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB); and a proposal for a contract with STB to establish the Abba Voyage virtual concert in Singapore.

Obstruction of justice charge​

Iswaran is also accused of performing an act that could most likely obstruct the course of justice.
He allegedly repaid $5,700 to Singapore GP for the cost of his business class flight from Doha to Singapore that he purportedly took on Dec 11, 2022, at Mr Ong’s expense through Singapore GP.
 

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“T315” contract named in Iswaran’s case was awarded to Lum Chang’s subsidiary in 2016​


In Oct 2016, LTA awarded Lum Chang Building Contractors, a Lum Chang Holdings subsidiary, the S$325M “T315” contract. Set for completion in 2025, it includes Tanah Merah station upgrades, new tracks, viaducts, and connections to a new depot.

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Published on 25 March 2024
By Yee Loon
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On Monday (25 March), former Transport Minister S Iswaran faced an escalation in his legal woes, as he was hit with an additional eight charges under section 165 of the Penal Code, bringing the total to 35 charges, including corruption allegations.
Section 165 prohibits public servants from receiving valuable items from individuals involved with them in an official capacity.
Iswaran, who assumed the role of Transport Minister in May 2021 and resigned in January 2024, stands accused of accepting items worth nearly $19,000 from Mr Lum Kok Seng (林國城), the managing director of Lum Chang Holdings (LCH, 林增控股).
These items, including a Brompton bicycle, golf clubs, and whisky bottles, were allegedly obtained between November 2021 and November 2022.
According to Singapore state media the Straits Times (ST), Iswaran allegedly knew of Lum’s association with a Land Transport Authority (LTA) contract for works at Tanah Merah MRT station through Lum Chang Building Contractors (LCBC), a subsidiary of Lum Chang Holdings.
Charge sheets mentioned Mr Lum’s connection with the “T315” contract, valued at S$325 million, which was awarded to LCBC in October 2016.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the project encompasses the construction of an additional platform and concourse at Tanah Merah station, along with two entrances linked by an underpass near the Tanah Merah Kechil Avenue intersection.
It also involves the addition of tracks and viaducts parallel to the existing East-West Line, as well as connections to a new depot.

A 2016 report from ST highlighted LTA’s acknowledgement of LCBC’s expertise in infrastructure and building projects, both domestically and internationally.
Notably, the firm has been involved in various significant projects, including the construction of Bukit Panjang Station of Downtown Line 2, as well as several Circle Line stations such as Paya Lebar, Dakota, Mountbatten, Stadium, and Nicoll Highway.
In August 2019, Khaw Boon Kwan, who served as Minister for Transport from 2015 to 2020, honoured LCBC with the LTA Contractors Challenge Shield for their commendable work on the existing Tanah Merah Station and viaducts.


In addition to the “T315” contract, Lum Chang Building Contractors secured a substantial S$799 million contract focused on constructing a 1.95km section of the North-South Corridor (Tunnel) between Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 and Ang Mo Kio Ave 9.
Following Iswaran’s charges on Monday, LTA stated in a release that they haven’t awarded any contracts to Lum Chang Building Contractors since 2019.
In addition to its collaborations with LTA, Lum Chang Building Contractors has a history of designing and constructing other MRT stations, including the Bukit Panjang MRT Station and associated tunnels along the Downtown Line.
Beyond its work with LTA, Lum Chang Building Contractors has also undertaken projects with Singapore’s national water agency, PUB.
In a September 2022 Facebook post, Mr Iswaran shared that Lum Chang Holdings received the Merit Award at the People’s Association Community Spirit Awards 2022 for their continuous efforts in building social capital in West Coast.


In November 2022, Mr Iswaran revealed plans to repurpose a 1-kilometre viaduct, slated for decommissioning, into a green corridor for pedestrians and cyclists, aligning with sustainable transport infrastructure initiatives.

Managing Director in Lum Chang named in Iswaran’s 8 fresh charges​

Currently, Mr Lum’s name is not listed in the judiciary hearing.
CPIB noted that, as with the earlier charges, the Court has approved the Prosecution’s request for Mr Iswaran’s eight additional charges to be transferred to the General Division of the High Court.
When asked by District Judge Brenda Tan on Monday morning, Iswaran maintained his plea of not guilty to the additional charges.
The charges specify the items acquired by Iswaran:
  • Four bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky valued at S$1,084.46.
  • Two bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky valued at S$524.23; Three bottles of L’Evangile 2014 wine valued at S$394.20; Three bottles of Pauillac De Latour 2015 wine valued at S$186.31; Three bottles of Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015 wine valued at S$1,177.21; and three bottles of Pichon Lalande 2010 wine valued at S$955.80.
  • A TaylorMade golf driver valued at S$749.
  • Two bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky worth S$524.23
  • A set of Honma Beres BE-08 Black AQ MX golf clubs valued at S$4,420.
  • A Brompton T Line bicycle valued at S$7,907.50.
  • Two bottles of M&H Elements Sherry Cask whisky valued at S$198.
  • A Scotty Cameron Phantom golf putter valued at S$600, along with two golf chippers valued at S$100 each.
Earlier on 18 January, Mr Iswaran was charged in the State Courts with 27 offences, including corruption, receiving gratification as a public servant and obstructing justice.
The 61-year-old entered a plea of not guilty to all charges linked to his interactions with property tycoon Ong Beng Seng.
He had also tendered his resignation from Parliament and the People’s Action Party (PAP).
 
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