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Monday, June 24, 2024
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ISWARAN CHARGED FOR RECEIVING GIFTS WORTH $18,956.94

Former transport minister, S Iswaran, faced a total of 35 charges in court on March 25, following the addition of eight new charges to the previous 27 he had been given on January 18. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) announced that these new charges relate to the acquisition of valuable items, amounting to approximately S$18,956.94, from Lum Kok Seng, a businessman with ties to the transport sector.

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Here is what CPIB wrote:

On 25 March 2024, S Iswaran was charged in the State Courts with eight additional counts of obtaining, as a public servant, valuable things with a total value of about S$18,956.94, for no consideration, from one Lum Kok Seng (林國城), whom S Iswaran knew to be concerned in business transacted which had a connection with his official function as Minister for Transport. These alleged offences were committed between November 2021 and November 2022 and are punishable under section 165 of the Penal Code.

2. S Iswaran was earlier charged on 18 January 2024 with 27 charges for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Penal Code. As with the earlier charges, the Court has granted the Prosecution’s application for the eight additional charges to be transmitted to the General Division of the High Court.

3. Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. Any person who is convicted under section 165 of the Penal Code can be fined or sentenced to imprisonment of up to two years or both.

Lum Kok Seng, the managing director of Lum Chang Holdings, provided Iswaran with bottles of whisky, golf clubs, and a Brompton bicycle. These gifts were given to Iswaran during his tenure as transport minister and are considered to be in connection with his official duties. Iswaran, however, has pleaded not guilty to these charges, maintaining his innocence.

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Previously, Iswaran had been accused of receiving over S$360,000 worth of tickets to football matches, Grand Prix F1, and shows. These charges, along with an obstruction of justice charge, were received following CPIB investigations.

Iswaran’s court-approved trip to Australia in March 2024 led to his return to Singapore for the hearing. He was initially granted permission to leave from February 16 to March 4, but his stay was extended due to medical reasons. The court granted Iswaran an additional 16 days outside of Singapore, allowing him to recover fully before returning to face the charges.

Lum Chang Holdings is a well-established company in Singapore, specializing in property management, interior design, and construction services. The ties between Iswaran and Lum Kok Seng have raised concerns regarding the integrity of public officials and their relationships with business professionals.

The CPIB’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity in Singapore remains crucial for the public’s trust. As Iswaran’s case unfolds, the bureau’s diligence in investigating and prosecuting alleged corruption is a testament to Singapore’s dedication to maintaining a transparent, accountable government that serves the people’s best interests.

Top image via: Iswaran Facebook/Google Maps

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