5-year low in corruption-related reports for 2020 due to drop in economic activities amid Covid-19: CPIB
SINGAPORE — The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) received 239 corruption-related reports last year, its lowest in five years. It attributed the “significant dip” in the number of reports to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to a sharp fall in economic activity in the private sector.
- CPIB received 239 corruption-related reports in 2020, a five-year low
- It attributed the fall to the drop in economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic last year
- The conviction rate for cases last year remained “consistently high” at 97 per cent, it said
- It added that Singapore’s anti-corruption efforts continue to be well-regarded domestically and internationally
SINGAPORE — The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) received 239 corruption-related reports last year, its lowest in five years.
It attributed the “significant dip” in the number of reports to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to a sharp fall in economic activity in the private sector.
The bureau received a total of 350 reports in 2019.
Releasing its annual statistics on corruption on Thursday (April 22), CPIB said that it also registered 81 reports as new cases for investigation last year. This was a 32 per cent drop compared with the 119 new cases registered in 2019.
A report is registered for investigation if the information received is pursuable. This is determined by the quality of relevant information provided.
However, in all, the proportion of corruption-related reports registered for investigation last year was 34 per cent — higher than the annual average of 30 per cent over the preceding four years, it noted.
Of the 81 new cases registered for investigation last year, 70 involved the private sector. Of these 70 cases, 9 per cent involved public sector employees rejecting bribes offered by individuals in the private sector.
The number of new cases in the public sector registered remained low at 11 cases. This figure was comparable to the annual average of 13 cases in the four previous years.
WORKING THROUGH DISRUPTIONS
Despite disruptions to workplace arrangements due to the pandemic, CPIB said that it was able to complete investigations into 87 per cent of subjects that it was probing last year.
This is higher than the annual average of 82 per cent over the previous four years.
The conviction rate for its cases last year also remained “consistently high” at 97 per cent, the bureau said. The conviction rate in the three years before that stood at 99 per cent.
CPIB also said that in the midst of the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, it remained operationally ready and “relentless” in its efforts to follow up on every corruption complaint.
For example, it “expeditiously” investigated a case of alleged corruption by a manager from the National Parks Board during the circuit breaker restricting activities last year, in order to avoid the risk of critical evidence being destroyed.
In another incident on May 7 last year, it investigated a case involving a work pass holder from China who had tried to bribe a police officer with S$50 after being detained for not wearing his face mask over his nose and mouth. The accused was arrested and charged the same day the incident was reported to the bureau.
WHAT PUBLIC THOUGHT OF CORRUPTION CONTROL
CPIB said that Singapore continues to be well-regarded internationally for its anti-corruption efforts. Last year, the country ranked third out of 180 countries in the global Transparency International ranking.
Domestically, a public perception survey done once every two years and commissioned by CPIB last year showed that 94 per cent of respondents felt that corruption control efforts in Singapore were effective. This was a two percentage point increase from 2018.
The bureau added it was “noteworthy” that 80 per cent of its respondents said that they trusted CPIB as an effective agency in the fight against corruption, up six percentage points from the 2018 survey.