Singapore

Fewer corruption cases in 2015

The number of corruption cases investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) hit a new low last year compared to 2014.

But the number of complaints went up. (See numbers below.)

The figures were released yesterday morning at the launch of the bureau's roving exhibition on Singapore's anti-corruption journey. It is held at the National Library till May 22.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who launched the exhibition, said Singapore often does well in international corruption rankings, and other countries often send officials here to study the system.

Mr Lee nailed down the Republic's low corruption statistics to three factors: strong political leadership, a robust and comprehensive anti-corruption framework and a society that eschews corruption.

Singapore's first prime minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and his team knew Singapore had to start from a clean slate of no corruption, he said.

"They understood that one term of an incompetent, corrupt government and the system will go corrupt, and the cancer would be embedded in the system," said Mr Lee.

It was symbolic that the older Mr Lee and his People's Action Party colleagues wore white shirts and trousers at their first swearing-in ceremony, and made it the party's uniform.

'SET THE TONE'

"It symbolised their determination to keep the Government clean and incorruptible, and it has set the tone for Singapore ever since," he said.

Singapore's strict anti-corruption laws, such as the Prevention of Corruption Act, puts the burden of proof on the accused to show that he had acquired his wealth legally, said PM Lee.

To enforce such laws, PM Lee added, the CPIB is kept independent, and can investigate anyone, including senior public officials and ministers.

"Everyone knows that when the CPIB calls you up to 'lim kopi', it is not a casual invitation," said PM Lee, using the Hokkien phrase for "drink coffee".

Singaporeans, too, expect and demand a clean system, and do not condone giving or accepting "social lubricants" to get things done.

"They readily report corrupt practices when they encounter them," he said. 
- The Straits Times.


BY THE NUMBERS

19%: The percentage increase in the number of complaints the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau received last year (877), compared to the year before (736).

Number of pursuable cases:

2014: 136

2015: 132

(11 per cent of the 132 cases in 2015 involved public officers, down 4 percentage points from 2014)

corruptionANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURESLee Hsien Loong