Corruption-related reports in Singapore drop to 5-year low amid Covid-19 pandemic

Of the 239 corruption-related reports received, CPIB registered 81 reports as new cases for investigation last year.
Of the 239 corruption-related reports received, CPIB registered 81 reports as new cases for investigation last year.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Graft-related reports plunged to a five-year low in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Thursday (April 22) when it released its annual statistics.

It showed last year's 239 corruption-related reports are down by about 31 per cent from the 350 reported in 2019, and 358 in 2018.

CPIB said this could be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic which caused a sharp fall in economic activities in the private sector.

Mr Denis Tang, director of CPIB, said: "Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore continues to maintain its low corruption level and good international standing as one of the least corrupt nations in the world. This requires our constant vigilance and resolute determination to keep corruption at bay."

Of the 239 corruption-related reports received, CPIB registered 81 reports as new cases for investigation last year. This is a drop from the 119 new cases registered in 2019.

The conviction rate for CPIB cases in 2020 remained near perfect at 97 per cent, excluding withdrawals.

One of these convictions involved a police staff sergeant, Mahendran Selvarajoo, 32.

He was jailed for two years for receiving sexual gratification from two women, who were being investigated separately, in return for helping one of them avoid prosecution and helping the other by replying favourably to her employer's purported queries about her case.

Mahendran had also copied the personal videos and folders from their devices to his personal storage devices without authority.

CPIB said: "The use of digital forensics and credibility assessment tools helped uncover the extent of Mahendran's offences and his corrupt intent."

It added that media coverage of the case helped raise public awareness, and led to the bureau receiving information relating to offences of a similar nature involving other people.

CPIB noted its continued efforts to engage young people.

A Republic Polytechnic survey last year showed that close to three-quarters of respondents, in a poll of about 1,000 people aged between 15 and 25, were not aware of CPIB's existence.

It had been formed in 1952 and comes under the Prime Minister's Office.

Following this survey, the bureau launched an e-book aimed at those aged between 13 and 19 last year.

It featured real-life corruption cases such as the $1 bribe case, in which two men were charged with regularly accepting $1 bribes from truck drivers in exchange for not delaying the loading and unloading of vehicles, as well as football match-fixing cases.

CPIB also worked with students from Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Design & Media to develop an application prototype featuring game design and elements to make anti-corruption materials more interesting.

Those with information on corruption cases can contact CPIB anonymously by writing in to CPIB Headquarters at 2 Lengkok Bahru, S159047, by calling 1800-376-0000, by lodging an e-complaint, or e-mailing report@cpib.gov.sg