Corruption situation under control as number of cases remains low: CPIB

According to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, overall, Singapore remains ranked as one of the world's least corrupt countries.
According to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, overall, Singapore remains ranked as one of the world's least corrupt countries.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The corruption situation in Singapore remains firmly under control, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a release of its 2018 statistics on Thursday (April 25).

Last year, the bureau received 358 corruption-related reports, and 107 of these were registered for investigation, which means there was sufficient evidence for the CPIB to investigate.

The figures are similar to those for 2017, where there were 368 corruption-related reports, and 103 of those were registered for investigation.

The overall number of reports and cases registered for investigation has been on a downward trend since 2015, when there were 475 corruption-related reports with 132 cases registered for investigation.

A report is registered for investigation if it is deemed pursuable based on the specificity and quality of information provided.

Non-pursuable reports are those with vague or unsubstantiated information which do not provide sufficient leads for CPIB to initiate an investigation.

"The CPIB takes a serious view of all reports and information that may disclose any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act. They are thoroughly deliberated regardless of the nature of amount of gratification, or whether the complainant is named or anonymous," said the bureau in a statement.

 
 
 
 

Under the law, the identity of the person making the report will be kept confidential, but complainants are encouraged, where possible, to provide specific details about the situation.

In line with previous years, the majority of the corruption cases registered came from the private sector with 88 per cent or 94 registered cases, where individuals accepted, gave or offered bribes.

Of these, about 15 per cent involved public sector employees who rejected bribes offered by individuals in the private sector, which could include areas such as building and construction, food and beverage, and warehouse sectors, among others.

Of the total registered cases in 2018, the proportion of public sector cases remained low, said the CPIB. Cases where public sector employees accepted, gave or offered bribes made up 12 per cent of the total figure, with 13 cases.

In 2017, cases from the private sector made up 92 per cent of the total caseload with 95 cases, and there were eight cases involving public sector employees.

There were 101 cases involving the private sector in 2016, and 17 cases involving the public sector that same year.

Last year, a total of 112 people were prosecuted for offences investigated by the CPIB.

Of the figure, 107 were private sector individuals, with about 20 people from the construction sector.

The construction and building maintenance work sectors were highlighted as two main areas of concern by the CPIB.

The construction sector in particular was also noted as an area of concern in the CPIB's 2017 report, alongside the wholesale and retail, and the warehousing, transport and logistic sectors.

Last year, the CPIB completed investigations into 80 per cent of the individuals investigated. This figure has averaged at 81 per cent over the five years 2014-2018.

The conviction rate also remained high, averaging about 98 per cent over the same period.

Members of the public can make reports of suspected acts of corruption to the CPIB through various forms such as over the phone, e-mail, or via mail or fax.

The bureau received 62 reports via phone calls, 54 reports via e-mail and 74 reports via mail or fax. The highest number of reports came from the CPIB website with 110 reports. However, just 13 of these cases were registered for investigation.

There were 20 cases referred from other agencies to the CPIB that resulted in 14 cases registered for investigation.

Last year, 38 reports were made in person, where 21 cases or more than 55 per cent were registered for investigation, said the CPIB.

It added: "Other than referrals from other agencies, reports lodged in person remained the most effective mode for receiving corruption-related reports, as the CPIB could obtain more detailed information directly from the complainant."

Overall, Singapore remains ranked as one of the world's least corrupt countries, said the CPIB.

The Republic ranked third, alongside Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, out of 180 countries and territories in the Transparency International's 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index. Denmark came in first and New Zealand second.

In the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy's 2018 Report on Corruption in Asia, Singapore was also rated the least corrupt country in the region, a rating it has maintained since 1995.