Don’t cross ‘bright red line’ of bribery: Temasek chairman

Investment firm Temasek Holdings will hold talks with bosses at its major portfolio companies on how to improve governance, in the wake of the bribery scandal that engulfed a Keppel Corporation unit.

Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng noted in remarks released yesterday that Singapore is consistently rated one of the world's least corrupt countries.

But he stressed that there is a continuing responsibility to uphold this reputation.

"In markets where practices are questionable and compromising integrity is required to win business or contracts, we have to be very clear - there is a bright red line our companies should not cross."

Mr Lim was addressing the chairmen of major Temasek-linked companies at a session after Temasek's Chinese New Year lunch on Feb 27.

A Temasek team will bring in domain experts and companies that have dealt with corruption and bribery to share how best practices were implemented, he said.

There will also be a series of forums on topics such as managing reputational challenges.

Mr Lim said he hoped Temasek would be able to "proactively engage" with the companies' boards and leadership teams in the coming months on issues such as regulatory challenges and how to tackle them.

When wrongdoing takes place, "we all must be ready to engage shareholders and stakeholders, with what we have done to remedy the wrongdoing, and ensure it does not recur", he noted.

While he did not specifically cite any company, Keppel made headlines in December when its offshore and marine unit was fined US$422.2 million (S$557 million) after a former agent paid bribes to secure contracts in Brazil. - THE STRAITS TIMES