CPIB officer facing fraud charges circumvented Civil Service rules

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) officer facing fraud charges had allegedly circumvented Civil Service rules that were put in place to ensure financial accountability and propriety, said the bureau in statement on Wednesday.

The anti-graft agency is governed by the Civil Service's instruction manuals and financial procedures, and its officers like all public officers are required to file annual declarations regarding their financial liabilities, and confirm that they are free from financial embarrassment.

The CPIB said some of those procedures and declarations were circumvented by Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, the bureau's head of field research and technical support who was charged in court earlier for fraud and other related offences.

"Following this incident, the Prime Minister appointed an Independent Review Panel led by then Deputy Secretary (Development), Ministry of Finance, Mr Lim Hock Chuan with two other members to review the circumstances that led to the loss of public funds, and to make recommendations on the CPIB's financial administration and operations, said the bureau. "The Panel has completed the review and submitted its report."

CPIB director Eric Tan in the same statement, apologised for the lapse and said the bureau will learn from it. "I am deeply sorry that a loss of public funds occurred during my watch. As the most senior officer in the agency, I accept responsibility for any lapses or deficiencies which allowed a senior staff's actions to go undetected for four years."

He said the anti-graft agency will strengthen its safeguards and improve its processes to prevent a repeat of the incident.