Strong leaders, effective laws key in graft fight: Indranee

Ms Indranee, speaking at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, said corruption is a scourge and a root cause of many of the world's problems.
Ms Indranee, speaking at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, said corruption is a scourge and a root cause of many of the world's problems.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF LAW

S'pore's culture of zero tolerance for corruption shared at summit

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah has taken to the global stage to reinforce the message that strong leadership and effective laws are essential in the fight against corruption.

Speaking in London at the inaugural Anti-Corruption Summit on Wednesday, she noted that corruption is a scourge and a root cause of many of the world's problems.

"Singapore takes a holistic approach to combat corruption. Most importantly, our strong political leadership and will in creating a culture of zero tolerance for corruption is key," she added.

"While Singapore has had some measure of success, we will continue to work with partners from various sectors of society to eradicate corruption, and learn from the best practices of other countries."

She outlined Singapore's four key success factors: a strong political leadership and will in creating a culture of zero-tolerance to corruption, effective anti-corruption laws and framework, effective enforcement by an independent anti-corruption authority and a professional public administration with strong public service ethos.

At the end of the summit, representatives of countries in attendance signed a declaration setting out high-level goals to combat corruption. The declaration was accompanied by a communique outlining the specific steps that will be taken.

Singapore has submitted a statement to be annexed to the communique, detailing what the Republic has done and will do in relation to the key issues identified in the communique. In the statement, Singapore expressed its commitment to expose corruption, punish the corrupt while supporting those who have suffered from corruption, and drive out the culture of corruption .

It will expose corruption by, for example, sharing information with relevant countries to ensure the most effective response to international money laundering and reviewing penalties and other action against professional enablers of tax evasion. To punish the corrupt and support victims of corruption, Singapore said it commits to strengthening asset recovery collaborations with international partners by engaging them regularly.

"We commit to work closely with our international partners to tackle corruption, and to ensure that all efforts are made to return illicit assets to the victims," the statement added.

And to drive out corruption, Singapore said it would, among other things, continue promoting the culture of zero-tolerance against corruption through prevention and concerted enforcement efforts.

An anthology of essays on Anti-Corruption was also launched at the summit by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong contributed to the collection with an essay on Singapore's experience in combating corruption.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Strong leaders, effective laws key in graft fight: Indranee'. Print Edition | Subscribe