SINGAPORE - The corruption situation in Singapore remains firmly under control, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), even as it received fewer reports and probed more cases last year.
Releasing its annual statistics on Wednesday (April 29), the CPIB said it received 350 corruption-related reports last year, a six-year low, and of these, 119 were registered for investigation.
This is compared with 358 reports received and 107 new cases registered for investigation in 2018, and 368 reports received and 103 new cases probed in 2017.
A report is registered for investigation if there is enough evidence for the CPIB to investigate. This is determined by the quality of relevant information provided, it said.
Non-corruption related reports received are referred to government agencies for them to act on, where applicable.
The bureau attributed the increase in the number of new cases it probed in 2019, as well as the higher percentage of reports registered for investigation to better quality information it got, coupled with efforts to enhance investigative inquiries and intelligence probes.
Better prevention and outreach efforts also raised public awareness and encouraged the public to report cases of corruption, said the CPIB.
The bureau cited the case against police staff sergeant Mahendran Selvarajoo, who was charged in November last year with corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from two women under investigation and for offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
The CPIB said media coverage of the case led to the bureau receiving information relating to offences of a similar nature involving other people.
"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 reviewed regardless of the nature or amount of gratification, or whether the complainant is named or anonymous," it added.
Similar to previous years, the vast majority of corruption cases probed came from the private sector, with 107 registered last year, making up 90 per cent of all cases registered for investigation by the bureau.
Of these cases, 11 involved public sector employees - from the police, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Singapore Customs - rejecting bribes offered by private sector individuals.
The number of public sector cases registered remained low last year, with 12 cases, and was similar to the annual average of the preceding four years.
A total of 147 people were taken to court for offences investigated by the CPIB last year.
Of these, 142, or 97 per cent, were from the private sector and about 30 per cent of these individuals were in construction and building maintenance, two sectors which the CPIB had previously flagged as areas of concern.
Last year, the bureau completed investigations into 85 per cent of the individuals it investigated, a five percentage point improvement from 2018 despite an increased workload. It also maintained a 99 per cent conviction rate, meaning almost all of the suspects prosecuted were sentenced in court.
CPIB director Denis Tang said: "Singapore has achieved good results in the fight against corruption, but we cannot afford to let our guard down. Corruption must not be allowed to creep into our way of life and undermine Singapore's reputation for being an incorrupt and fair society.
"CPIB remains resolute and committed in combating corruption and will continue to strengthen its operational capabilities to better detect and investigate corruption offences."