Singapore

PM’s Office statement on CPIB officer case

Minister for Law K. Shanmugam Press Statement, July 24, 2013
Minister for Law K. Shanmugam gave a statement to reporters at the Supreme Court, in the light of CPIB Assistant Director Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong being charged ...
Published: 11:07 AM, July 24, 2013
Updated: 3:12 PM, March 21, 2016
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SINGAPORE — The Prime Minister’s Office has released a statement on the case involving Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) Assistant Director Edwin Yeo, who was charged in court today (July 24) with 21 counts of criminal breach of trust, forgery and misappropriating property involving S$1.7 million.

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An officer from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has been charged with misappropriating public funds.

We take a very serious view of this case, especially because the officer was from an agency whose mission is to uphold the integrity of our system.

CPIB first uncovered the alleged wrong-doing in September 2012. As the accused was a CPIB officer and the alleged financial impropriety could have amounted to a criminal offence, the matter was reported to the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force, which carried out the investigation. This was to ensure an impartial and thorough investigation.

The Prime Minister appointed an independent review panel to look at how this case happened, and to strengthen the financial procedures and audit system in CPIB to prevent a recurrence. The recommendations of the panel are being implemented.

Individual lapses can happen in an organization despite safeguards and processes to prevent wrongdoing. But so long as we uphold the fundamental importance of honest government, and other officers in the organization are alert and courageous enough to report when they think something is not right, we will sooner or later detect such transgressions and bring the culprit to justice.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the Minister in charge of the Civil Service, said: “This case is particularly serious because it involved a senior officer in the CPIB, which is entrusted with the mission of maintaining the integrity of the system.

“Public institutions and public officers are held to the highest standards of integrity and conduct. It is vital to have in place systems and practices to ensure integrity in the public service. There must be strong enforcement when there is wrongdoing, weaknesses in processes must be tightened, and most importantly there must be good values. “We will take strong measures to tighten up processes. PMO is examining whether any supervisory lapses may have contributed to this incident. If so, it will take action against the officers responsible.

“As there have been a number of high profile cases recently, the public is understandably concerned about whether this reflects systemic issues in the Public Service. The Service itself is concerned about this. Earlier this year, PMO asked CAD and CPIB to conduct a study of public officers investigated by them for corruption and other financial crimes over the last five years to see whether there was any change in their number or profile.

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