Whistle-blowers protected under law

We thank Mr Francis Cheng for his letter (Improve protection for whistle-blowers; June 8).

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) appreciates all feedback, and works with the public to safeguard Singapore's integrity.

We note that Mr Cheng made several suggestions to improve whistle-blower protection, including having a dedicated whistle-blower protection law.

We would like to clarify that under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), there are provisions that safeguard the identity of informers whose information led to the investigation and prosecution of any offences under the Act.

Furthermore, all witnesses, including informants, are protected from potential retaliation or intimidation under the provisions of the Penal Code (Chapter 224).

Any such harassment, as alluded to by Mr Cheng, should be reported to the authorities.

The PCA also guards against malicious complaints, whereby the complainant can be prosecuted for knowingly giving or causing to be given, any false or misleading information to the CPIB.

This is to prevent the misuse of our criminal justice system by those who would make malicious complaints against innocent parties for their own purposes.

We assure Mr Cheng that these incidents are few.

A complainant who provided information that was subsequently verified to be inaccurate, but did so with no malicious intent, would not be taken to task.

Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. The CPIB takes a serious view of all complaints or information which may expose any offence under the PCA, and continues to combat corruption through swift, sure and firm, but fair, action.

All complaints, including anonymous ones, will be carefully evaluated so as to ascertain whether a criminal investigation under the PCA is warranted.

The CPIB strongly encourages members of the public to report any suspected corrupt practices in person, as based on our experience, complaints lodged in person are the most effective mode of reporting.

Clare Tan (Ms)

Senior Assistant Director (Corporate Relations)

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Whistle-blowers protected under law'. Print Edition | Subscribe