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MOH, MND refute ‘false and malicious’ allegations of profiteering and corruption over Covid-19 care facility at S’pore Expo

SINGAPORE — The authorities have strongly refuted allegations that there were profiteering and corruption in relation to the development of the community care facility (CCF) by Surbana Jurong at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre, saying these accusations are false and malicious.

MOH, MND refute ‘false and malicious’ allegations of profiteering and corruption over Covid-19 care facility at S’pore Expo

A view of a hall at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre in Changi that is being used to house Covid-19 patients.

SINGAPORE — The authorities have strongly refuted allegations that there were profiteering and corruption in relation to the development of the community care facility (CCF) by Surbana Jurong at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre, saying these accusations are false and malicious.

In a statement on Wednesday (May 20), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of National Development (MND) said the Government had asked sovereign wealth fund Temasek to help at short notice to set up a CCF for recovering patients of Covid-19 and those with mild or no symptoms, as Temasek had the necessary resources through its subsidiaries.

“Temasek agreed to assist, and also agreed that the work done by Temasek and its linked companies would be done (on a) cost recovery basis, and in some cases, below cost,” the ministries said.

They added that the Ministry of Manpower and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo were not involved in the selection of Surbana Jurong, an infrastructure consultancy, or any of the parties that participated in the development of the Singapore Expo CCF. They were also not involved in the process of managing the costs of the project.

Mrs Teo’s husband is Mr Teo Eng Cheong, chief executive officer (international) of Surbana Jurong.

Temasek was the one that had identified the Singapore Expo as a suitable venue for a CCF and asked Surbana Jurong to convert the Expo into Singapore’s first large-scale CCF, MOH and MND said.

“For all the work done by Temasek, it did not charge any management fees and has only invoiced MND for expenses paid to third parties. Temasek also confirmed that its linked companies, including Surbana Jurong, will only charge for direct expenditure, at cost.”

Some aspects were charged at below normal cost, the ministries added.

For example, Temasek told the Government that SingEx Venues, which manages the Singapore Expo, will not charge the full capital expenditure cost, since the Expo was not being used for normal business anyway.

Over the weekend, a few posts had made the rounds on social media and messaging platforms, accusing Mrs Teo and Surbana Jurong of profiteering from the Covid-19 outbreak.

On Tuesday, Surbana Jurong issued a statement refuting the allegations, saying they were “not only untrue, they are disrespectful of our colleagues who have made enormous sacrifices, including putting their health at risk, to deliver the projects under challenging conditions, for the benefit of our community”.

MOH and MND also pointed out that for the development of the CCF at the Singapore Expo, which has 8,000 beds, Temasek had also asked other companies, including PSA International, which was the overall project coordinator, Singapore Technologies Engineering and Sheares Healthcare to help.

External vendors such as Parkway Pantai, Resorts World Sentosa and Certis Cisco also played a crucial role in the successful development of the CCF, the ministries added.

MOH said it worked with Temasek and the other entities on the healthcare requirements and needs for the CCF site. Once these were confirmed, MND liaised with the entities on the payments for the development of the Singapore Expo facility.

“This is because MND has also been liaising with other parties to pay for the provision of other facilities, like the dedicated stay-home-notice facilities,” the ministries said.

Surbana Jurong worked with the other partners to complete the development of the Singapore Expo CCF in a very short time, they said.

“It was able to leverage its sourcing processes to obtain construction and other needed materials on an urgent basis. Despite the tight timelines and extensive work that was required, Surbana Jurong provided its expertise to develop the Singapore Expo CCF at cost, without any profit or management fee.”

The ministries added: “The Government accepts that legitimate questions can be raised about the spending, and is fully prepared to explain why and how money was spent.

“However, the Government will respond firmly and appropriately to any scurrilous allegation of corruption.”

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Covid-19 coronavirus Singapore EXPO Surbana Jurong CCF

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