Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Zero Tolerance For Corruption

Strong message and ‘power’ photo from CPIB’s 60th anniversary
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attending the 60th anniversary celebration of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau with former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong. (Photo / Kenji Soon, from Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page)

It is a photo that has been going around on Facebook, capturing three of Singapore’s Prime Ministers, past and present, striding along like three leads in the opening credits of a TV show on criminal justice.

Fittingly, they were attending the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Tuesday.

"Not so often that all three of us attend a ceremony together,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on his Facebook page, and that probably sums up why the photo has been shared by online users.

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PM Lee In Need Of Honest People

Singapore's values and its systems against the disease of corruption are very well entrenched debated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Chatham House in London, but nothing can be taken for granted, he added. Even when a rule exists, capable and honest people are still needed to keep the system clean he said this Friday.

In his Chatham dialogue, Prime Minister Lee engaged about 250 academics, students and members of the British civil service. They questioned about Singapore's system in dealing with corruption to which Mr Lee replied, "It was one of the considerations in the People's Action Party who fought to win, and did win the first elections in 1959. You must win the first time, because by the second time, the system may well have gone corrupt. And then we had an exceptional team of people who, with a tremendous sense of purpose and resolve, kept it clean and who built the system to maintain it."

"In the old days what they said about the communists - at least in the Soviet bloc - is 'I pretend to pay you, and you pretend to work', but here (in Singapore) for civil servants, I will pay you properly and you will do your job properly," he said. On the ruling People's Action Party, Mr Lee addressed a question on whether it was healthy for the party to be in power for so long. "You want a system where there is continuity, and there is change within that continuity. I think, for a small country, discontinuous change is disruptive, and could be dangerous," he said.


Govt has zero tolerance policy towards corruption: Chan Chun Sing
chan chun sing

Replying to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied GRC Sylvia Lim on the risk of corruption in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Senior Minister of State for Defence Chan Chun Sing said MINDEF, like the rest of the government has a zero tolerance policy towards corruption.

He said Singapore's defence procurement process is widely recognised to be of the highest standards. Ms Sylvia Lim had commented on Singapore getting a "D+" rating in a Transparency International (TI) report.

"In political oversight, TI even singles out our defence supply committee as being provided with minimal information to guide decision-making. I think we should continue to review how much more information about MINDEF's spending can be shared with parliamentarians and the general public to reduce corruption risk. Australia and Germany managed to be graded "A", and the USA was graded "B" even though arguably, they have equally compelling security concerns about transparency. Can we be a bit more transparent?

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Can high salary curb corruption?

Most highly paid bosses head the most corrupt organisations, according to bribery survey

Anti-corruption activists, MPs, and the general public are divided over Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Jennifer Musisi’s claim that being paid highly deters corruption.

In an interview with The Independent (Issue 178 “Jennifer Musisi wants to be judged on results”), Musisi said it is better to be paid a high salary than earn little officially but illegally earn millions through corrupt means.

She says the Shs 43 million she wants to be paid is nothing compared to the revenues she has recovered and will still recover that KCCA has been losing to corruption. She insists that most civil servants are corrupt and inefficient because they are paid low wages and yet, like everybody else, they have to meet their basic needs at the end of the day.


Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research
20130412_1

How much should people earn? Even if resources were unlimited, it would be difficult to stipulate your ideal salary. Intuitively, one would think that higher pay should produce better results, but scientific evidence indicates that the link between compensation, motivation and performance is much more complex. In fact, research suggests that even if we let people decide how much they should earn, they would probably not enjoy their job more.

Even those who highlight the motivational effects of money accept that pay alone is not sufficient. The basic questions are: Does money make our jobs more enjoyable? Or can higher salaries actually demotivate us?

Let’s start with the first: does money engage us? The most compelling answer to this question is a meta-analysis by Tim Judge and colleagues. The authors reviewed 120 years of research to synthesize the findings from 92 quantitative studies. The combined dataset included over 15,000 individuals and 115 correlation coefficients.

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Key myths about corruption



Corruption has been one of the major international concerns of the past decade. It is an issue that affects all countries, rich and poor, in different ways and to differing degrees. Exactly how corruption affects particular societies has, however, been the subject of some discussion in the literature. The major international institutions promoting governance reforms have, for example, persistently argued that corruption has a direct negative impact upon overall economic growth levels and can depress the climate for attracting international investment; although these are far from universally-held assumptions, even in the mainstream economics literature.

Amidst heightened international concern for tackling the abject poverty which continues to affect such large sections of humanity (expressed most clearly in the evolution of the millennium development goals or MDGs), perhaps the most important concern that has been expressed about corruption is that it disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized, through excluding them from access to services or reducing the funds available for direct use in social programmes. Donor-country fears over corruption in the handling of development aid monies may also act to erode the political will necessary to ensure adequate international funding of the actions needed to meet MDG targets, whilst within Southern countries perceptions of widespread corruption within political life can act decisively to depress popular support for state reforms and/or open democratic political systems.

Clearly, then, corruption – its extent, nature, dynamics, causation and how it might be tackled – is an issue of fundamental importance to those working in the field of international development. One of the things noticeable on a first exploration of the literature on corruption and development is the singular lack of attention that was devoted to the issue for most of the period since the second world war and, in turn, the sudden rediscovery of the issue towards the end of the 1980s and the explosion of international legislative initiatives, institutional formation and academic work that has occurred since then.

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High pay for better talents?
(Photo by Luis Ascui/Getty Images)

In late 1994 the Goh Chok Tong government adopted a policy of giving cabinet ministers, parliament members, senior civil servants and other public sector employees (e.g., at the time university professors were included, but they were subsequently decoupled from civil service salary scales.) higher levels of pay, on the twin grounds that salaries competitive to those prevailing in the business and professional sectors are necessary to attract managerial and other talent into politics, and better paid public employees are less likely to engage in corruption. (The old article by Catherine Lim was triggered by the action, but it then went into territory sufficiently controversial to produce a reprimand from Goh Chok Tong himself – a major event then but today mostly forgotten.)

The need to match political salaries with business levels reflects a basic feature of the Singapore “system”, namely the inter-twining of public and commercial sector careers. With the government in control of a large sector of the Singapore economy through share ownership, many civil servants, army officers, even some professors, receive board directorships and executive positions in commercial companies, while in the reverse direction business executives, professionals, and, again, academics, have been recruited as PAP parliamentary candidates. Going into politics is largely an extension of one’s previous career, like promotion from line staff into the executive circle as reward for good performance, rather than a separate calling due to strong ideological commitment to a particular set of political beliefs.

The assumption underlying the system is that the Singapore government’s main task is to manage the economy, so that parliament members and cabinet ministers need to have the relevant experiences, which are best judged by their previous educational background and management related performance. One could say that the cabinet sees itself as the board of directors of Singapore Inc, working on behalf of its citizen shareholders, with parliament acting as a kind of “nominating committee”, since you need to get its majority support to gain power.

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Don’t expect much from ministers despite their high pay
http://newasiarepublic.com/wp-content/uploads/singapore-currency1.jpg
Money, money, money, can it really motivate? No, according to robust research report

It was reported yesterday that an assistant-director with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was charged with corruption. 39-year-old Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong was charged with 21 criminal counts with alleged misappropriation of more than $1.76 million dollars in public funds and blowing part of the sum at the Marina Bay Sands casino.

When a fiasco of such magnitude happens, the knives usually come out quickly, and one particular outlet where the public vents its anger is this – why our ministers with their high pay can allow this to happen? It is to this end that we would like to bring to readers’ attention a seminal article by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic published in the Harvard Business Review blog network. Tomas is an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing. He is currently a Professor of Business Psychology at the University College London. In April 2013, he published an article titled “Does money affect motivation? A review of research”. As the title of his article suggests, Tomas explored the impact of pay on motivation in workers.

We have always wanted to discuss this article since its publication in April, but there wasn’t a ripe occasion for it. However, when news of Yeo’s corruption charges broke out, it presented us with a suitable opportunity.

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Not possible to completely eradicate corruption: K Shanmugam

Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam says Singapore cannot eradicate fraud and bad conduct, even though it has created a system that is, by international standards, very clean and efficient.

Mr Shanmugam stressed that Singapore ranks high as a clean, corruption free society, amid several recent corruption cases.

He noted that of late, some people have asked why there so many cases, when Singapore is supposed to be a clean country 

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SHANMUGAM ON RECENT CORRUPTION CASES: SINGAPOREANS ARE ‘HUMANS’ AS WELL
shanmugan

The recent spate of high-profile corruption cases involving senior civil servants and leaders of the establishment has set some Singaporeans questioning if Singapore is that ‘clean’ after all

However, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam uses ‘human nature’ to deflect public concerns, saying that “corruption and falling to temptation are basic vices that have existed since time immemorial.”

“Like in all societies, and in Singapore as well, there have always been people who have been corrupt. There will always be people who will be corrupt,” Mr Shanmugam said.


related:
Key myths about corruption

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Recent Corruption Cases In Singapore


Singapore has long enjoyed a reputation of being one of the least corrupt countries in the world.  Our international rankings in this regard are high.  In 2012, Singapore was ranked the 5th out of 176 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index scores.  In Asia, Singapore is constantly prized as the least corrupt country, thus finding favour with investors and financial institutions keen on tapping into the Asian market.

A major part of this success lies in the relentless fight against corruption by the enforcement regime in Singapore.  The main body vested with investigative powers is the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (“CPIB”).  Specifically, the CPIB focuses on corruption offences arising under the Prevention of Corruption Act (“PCA”) and the Penal Code.  The Commercial Affairs Department (“CAD”) of the Singapore Police Force is the principal white-collar crime investigation agency and is the body which enforces legislation governing financial and commercial entities in Singapore.

Despite the country’s stance of zero tolerance against corruption, Singapore has recently seen a spate of high-profile corruption cases in the public sector.  These lapses show that one can never be too complacent in the fight against corruption.  The following is an illustration of some of these cases.

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Previous cases of crooked CPIB officers in the last 20 years

2002 Senior Research Officer Sogamaran Gopal Ramachandran was jailed for two years for accepting a S$1,350 bribe from an ex-colleague, who was working with two corrupt policemen bribed by VCD pirates.

Sogamaran, who was with the CPIB for 10 years, had leaked investigation details against the two corrupt cops to the ex-colleague.

1997 Senior Special Investigator Chan Toh Kai was sentenced to a year in jail for cheating. He had tricked businessman Ong Boon Kwee into believing the latter had to pay S$10,000 to the Government — in order to be let off with only a warning for getting someone else to take the rap for employing foreign workers without valid work permits.

related:
1 in 5 CPIB probes involve public officers
CPIB officer charged with misappropriating S$1.7mCPIB head to be replaced in October
PM’s Office statement on CPIB officer case
CPIB chief ‘deeply sorry’, system strengthened

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Graft - A really bad slip!

Singapore’s struggle to keep its rank as the world’s 5th least corrupt country takes a knock on the head.

The arrest of a top anti-corruption officer raises more public doubts that high salaries prevent government corruption.

Under all criminal conditions, one body – the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) which originated under British rule – has steadfastly remained a pillar most Singaporeans feel they can rely on to ensure integrity.

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PMO: Corruption cases involving public officers have remained low

Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a public statement today (24 Jul) on the case of a senior CPIB officer being charged with misappropriating $1.7 million of public funds.

PMO said, “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 last year. 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, which carried out the investigation. PMO said that this was to ensure an impartial and thorough investigation.

related:

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Singapore ranked 5th in TI's 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index

How did the govts of Denmark, Finland and New Zealand manage to top the least corrupted index with their humble salaries?

Insurance Journal, 5 Dec 2012
In Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for first place out of 176 countries – meaning they were perceived to have the lowest levels of state sector corruption.

Sweden was fourth with Singapore ranked as fifth. Germany came in at  13th, one notch better than 2011 and Japan remained at 17. The United States ranked 19th in 2012, up from 24th out of 183 countries in 2011. China ranked 80th after 75th in 2011. Full story

Related:
  1. 2012 Corruption Perception Index - Transparency International
  2. Why Singapore Has the Cleanest Government Money Can Buy - TrulySingapore
  3. Cutting Corruption by Raising Government Salaries? - Globalprosperity.wordpress
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Graft trouble in Paradise!

Singapore’s struggle to keep its rank as the world’s 5th least corrupt country takes a knock on the head.

The arrest of a top anti-corruption officer raises more public doubts that high salaries prevent government corruption.

Under all criminal conditions, one body – the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) which originated under British rule – has steadfastly remained a pillar most Singaporeans feel they can rely on to ensure integrity.

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Corruption, Embezzlement and Cleaning Up the Civil Service

Yet another case of wrongdoing for personal gain in the civil service. CPIB chief Eric Tan did the right thing by humbly apologising for the actions of his officer but that is not enough for a public tired of cases of fallen civil servants abusing their authority.

CPIB has been busy. Ng Boon Gay was acquited although his name was dragged in the mud before cleared of co being corruption. Former SCDF chief Peter Lim was sentenced to 6 month jail for his sex for contracts scandal. NUS lecturer Tey Tsun Hang went to prison for 5 months for his sex for grades scandal. Earlier this year, an assistant director in MDA was cooperating with CPIB as he was accused of asking for bribes from those who applied for grants from MDA.

Now, an assistant director in the CPIB is charged with criminal breach of trust as he pocketed $1.7 million, with about $240,000 of it gambled away at MBS. The amount is huge by most standards, albeit the highest amount of money embezzled by tainted civil servants was $12 million by 2 SLA staff who were sentenced in 2010 to 22 and 15 years.

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'The civil service must know when to stand firm'



There is a story going around the civil service of a person who goes to a police station and asks the officer to return his library book for him.


This extreme interpretation of the civil service's "no wrong door" policy is no tall tale, however.


Mr Peter Ong, head of the 136,000-strong civil service, recounts it to show how some citizens feel more empowered and, at times, more entitled these days.

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The Public Service today is not the one of yesterday



The Public Service today is not the Public Service of yesterday. Too much of politicking without really doing their best can be deduced. The failure of the leadership will also be a reflection on the failure of the Public Service. For simplicity sake and for the benefit of all Singaporeans of our kind, that is born and bred here, let analyse the failings: 

Education - Will any principals or higher authority do a study of Singaporeans in terms of their IQ and EQ and tell us they lack talents compared to the foreign so called talented students? Was giving scholarships for free justified when our own Singaporeans many with good qualifications but not given the opportunity because of the second language and so on? Did any education high officer do a study and tell us that Singaporeans lack talents?

Tell us the score of the foreign students against the local students? Is it shade better or far better than Singaporeans? Then what were they doing in assuring that our education system is fine tuned to be the best with our own Singaporeans making the grade against the foreign students? So much is said and can we have quantifiable figures not only on IQ but a test done for EQ as well. A culture and assimilation is far important then a piece of paper! Answers???

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Trust in public institutions: Can Singapore afford cracks?


In his message to mark Public Service Week this week, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean talked about the need for civil servants to support front-line colleagues should they be subject to unfair accusations or abuse. His remarks put the spotlight on what many see as a gradual erosion of trust in Singapore's public institutions. They have played a critical role in the country's success, and some find recent attacks against them troubling. Jeremy Au Yong reports. The Straits Times, 25 May 2013

A HYPOTHETICAL scenario was put forward by Professor Kishore Mahbubani in The Straits Times last month: What would happen if people were stuck in an MRT breakdown and did not trust the public transport operator to fix the problem or the authorities to come to their rescue?

When trains broke down on the North-South line in 2011, the answer to that question was that commuters sat in stifling heat for up to an hour before they were rescued by SMRT staff.

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CPIB monitoring effectiveness of criminal case disclosure regime

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is currently monitoring how disclosure procedures operate in respect of offences investigated by CPIB that are within the list of offences subjected to criminal case disclosure.

He was replying to Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim's question on whether and when cases prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act will be brought within the criminal case disclosure procedures under Part IX of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Mr Lee said that under Part IX of the Criminal Procedure Code, certain listed offences are subjected to the criminal case disclosure regime.

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STATEMENT FROM THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE - APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR CORRUPT PRACTICES INVESTIGATION BUREAU (CPIB)

An Independent Review Panel (IRP) reported that supervisory lapses in CPIB had resulted in deficiencies in financial controls and the loss of public funds. These in turn led to criminal charges against Mr Edwin Yeo, Assistant Director CPIB, which are currently before the Court. This statement does not touch on Mr Yeo’s innocence or guilt in respect of these charges.

These supervisory lapses occurred during the terms of two Directors of CPIB: Mr Soh Kee Hean (until Sep 2010) and the current Director Mr Eric Tan. Both Directors had supervisory and command responsibilities over Mr Edwin Yeo and his unit in CPIB. Both Directors have been issued formal letters of warning for their lapses, and have accepted responsibility for them.

To maintain public trust and confidence in CPIB and to fully implement the Review Panel’s recommendations, the Prime Minister has decided that Mr Wong Hong Kuan, currently the Chief Executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, will succeed Mr Eric Tan as Director CPIB when Mr Tan’s term ends on 30 September 2013.

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Singapore official jailed in pineapple, wine case

Singapore official jailed in pineapple, wine case: Two senior government officials were imprisoned on Thursday in separate corruption scandals that have dented Singapore’s reputation as one of the world’s least corrupt countries.

Lim Cheng Hoe, 61,  former Ministry of Foreign Affairs head of protocol, received a 15 months jail sentence for inflating expenses for pineapple tarts and wine he bought as gifts for dignitaries, said reports. Forty-year-old Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong an assistant director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, received a ten year prison sentence for misappropriating Sg$1.76 million (US$1.4 million) worth of government funds.

Both men had pleaded guilty earlier, according to reports.

related:
Singapore Jails Diplomat Over Pineapple Tarts
Singapore diplomat jailed over false claims for pineapple tarts, wine

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DPM Teo: Latest high profile CPIB case 'particularly serious'

<span>DPM Teo Chee Hean acknowledged public concern over the n</span><span>umber of high profile graft cases involving civil servants.</span>
UPDATED at 2:15pm: adding comments from Law Minister K Shanmugam

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday called the latest graft case involving a senior civil servant "particularly serious".

In a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office shortly after 39-year-old Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) officer Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong was charged in court with misappropriating more than S$1.7 million from the anti-graft agency, the minister outlined a series of measures that will be taken in light of the case.

These include a study of recent instances of misbehaviour within the civil service, as well as an independent review audit to examine the source of the lapses that occurred within the CPIB that allowed Yeo's alleged crimes to happen.

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Quadruple confirm: Public servants don’t do cost-benefit analysis

Former NUS law professor, Tey Tsun Hang, was sentenced to a 5 months’ jail term and ordered to pay a penalty of $514.80 by the court yesterday. He was convicted of corruptly obtaining gifts and sex from former student Darinne Ko.

Last week, the former chief of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Peter Lim Sin Pang, was convicted by a District Court for corruption. He was on trial for abusing his position to obtain sexual favours from Ms Pang Chor Mui in return for favorable consideration of her company’s tender bid for business.

Also last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs said disciplinary proceedings against the former chief of the Central Narcotics Bureau Ng Boon Gay would remain suspended until a final outcome in the criminal proceedings. Mr Ng was acquitted of corruption charges in February. Mr Ng was accused of obtaining sexual favours from IT sales manager Ms Cecilia Sue in return for furthering the business interests of her two employers. The MHA spokesperson also said that the prosecution was studying  the written grounds of decision and assessing whether to file a Petition of Appeal.

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Former CNB and SCDF chiefs: Same charge 2 outcomes


Both were senior civil servants hauled to court for corruption

Former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay was acquitted of four charges on Feb 14 by District Judge Siva Shanmugam.

The full grounds of decision were released on Friday, and the prosecution has until June 11 to appeal.

Former Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Benedict Lim Sin Pang was on Friday convicted on one count of corruption after a 12-day trial.

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21 govt bodies found to have lapses in managing public funds

 
21 govt bodies found to have lapses in

SINGAPORE: 21 government bodies in Singapore, including 10 ministries and 11 statutory boards, have been found to have lapses in managing public funds and resources.

This is according to a report by the Auditor-General Office's, which investigated complaints on such matters for the financial year 2011 to 2012.

Among the findings, the Manpower Ministry was found to have inadequate scrutiny when it came to awarding a tender to buy office chairs. 

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Auditor-General flags procurement lapses

SOME companies could have enjoyed an unfair advantage in tendering for public sector contracts because of the failure of certain public bodies to follow procurement policies, according to the Auditor-General's latest annual report.

Among the largest tenders in which the bidding process was deemed unfair was a $19.14 million project by Republic Polytechnic to develop an integrated academic system. After the deadline, it allowed one vendor to submit a revised proposal. It was a substantial change from the original tender, but the fact was not disclosed to the tender-approving authority and the company got the contract.

Auditor-General Willie Tan noted that the polytechnic did not consider re-calling the tender or inviting other shortlisted tenderers to submit revised bids, though this is required under government rules

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Auditor General: Breaches of Law in Prime Minister’s Office

Barely a week after Lee Hsien Loong spoke of integrity and the importance of admitting ones mistakes, the Auditor General released his annual report and gave the PM the perfect opportunity to practice what he preached.

The report for 2012/13 cites more than two dozen incidents relating to contracts worth almost S$300M where the PMO’s National Research Foundation appear to be in violation of The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act. While the PM himself is not directly implicated, the failure of a department under his oversight to abide by its legal and contractual obligations clearly raises significant questions.

Will the PM or his office stand up for their integrity and admit to these mistakes – as the PM has urged his political opponents to do over much smaller matters – or will a hypocritical silence be maintained? To quote the Auditor General’s report directly, under the heading “Prime Minister’s Office”

related
1 in 5 corrupt cases involves a puplic officer and DPM Teo says that is "low"
Corruption in CPIB
CPIB officer faces fraud charges: tip of the iceberg?

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Hypocrisy

When we have more scandals of the public service involving hundreds of millions of tax payers money, why is the government attempting to undermine the crimes? The Straits Times reported that a report will be made public to show that the number of fraud cases by public servants are ‘consistent’ throughout the years. To me, if each scandal is to involve so much money, one fraud is one too many. Lee Kwan Yew said before that he has absolutely ZERO tolerance for corruption. As such, should we even tolerate a single case?

Sure, there’s always the ‘human is prone to error and temptation’ reasoning but please don’t even bring this up. By bringing this up, it only goes to show the lack of sincerity and resoluteness in admitting to the incompetence of the government. As a citizen who pays taxes, I am not interested in the ‘consistency’ of fraud cases involving public service officials. I am more interested in how can this be solved, how can monetary control issues be tightened, and whether the money lost can be recovered.

If the number of fraud cases are ‘consistent’ over a number of years, it only meant one thing. There are loopholes in the system and the government had failed to tightened it throughout the years. This spells incompetence. I mean, what else can it imply? Why would any company or organization continue to allow such frauds to happen over and over again? Is it because the ministers don’t feel the pinch since they continue to collect their millions?

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Taking the Men in Suits and Wigs to court



The laws governing contempt of court are controversial in their own right. What constitutes such an offence? They can vary from offences such as showing blatant disregard or disrespect to the judge, disobeying a court order, disrupting the proceedings of the court or publication of materials that are likely to jeopardise a fair trial.

There are two tests to establish whether one is guilty of contempt of court. The first one is the “inherent tendency test”, which attempts to determine whether an action “had the inherent tendency to interfere with the administration of justice”. The criticism of this test is that it imposes no requirements to prove intent on the part of the accused to interfere with the administration of justice. Hence, it has a lower threshold that the other test, known as the “real risk test”.

The “real risk test” was adopted in favour of the “inherent tendency test” in the Shadrake vs AGC case. For this test, the requirement is that the accused’s action (s) harbours a real risk of affecting public confidence in the administration of justice, as opposed to a mere possibility. Alan Shadrake was a British writer wrote a book titled “One a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock” in 2010, and he was subsequently accused of “scandalising the court.” The “real risk test was adopted in other commonwealth jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, New Zealand and United Kingdom out of the need to protect the right to freedom and expression.

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AGC: Law of contempt needed to protect ‘public confidence’ in administration of justice in Singapore

For the second time in less than a month, the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) felt compelled to issue a public statement to clear up lingering skepticism in the public about its decisions.

Two weeks ago, the AGC issued a media statement to explain the charges leveled against plastic surgeon Woffles Wu for abetting somebody to take the rap for him for two speeding offences.

The fiasco sparked a massive outcry among Singaporeans, among whom is blogger Alex Au who wrote two articles insinuating that Woffles Wu was ‘favorably’ treated under the law, prompting AGC to send a letter to him threatening to charge him for contempt of court unless he retracts his article and apologizes which he eventually did so.
Now, AGC is explaining its decision to use the law of contempt to send Alex Au the warning

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What’s happening to squeaky clean Singapore?


For starters, corruption is nothing new in Singapore. Back in 1986, former National Development Minister Teh Cheang Wan was investigated for corruption which subsequently resulted him in taking his own life before charges could proceed.

In 2005, corruption again reared its ugly head in the charity sector involving the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) which caused much public distrust as the CEO was reported in The Straits Times to have installed “a glass-panelled shower, a pricey German toilet bowl and a S$1, 000 (US$782) gold-plated tap.” There were also revelations following court proceedings that he paid himself $S600, 000 (US$469, 000). In a manner befitting poetic justice, taking the paper to court for defamation sealed his fate and led to his downfall. It also opened a can of worms that Singapore is not as  corruption-free as it seems.

This year, stories of alleged corruptions came to light again when two high ranking officers in the civil service were hauled to court in a “sex-for-business” corruption cases. Yesterday, another major scandal  broke that City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee had used at least S$23 million (US$18 million) to fund his wife’s, Sun Ho, pop star career. Five leaders were arrested yesterday – another high profile case that has hit the public’s consciousness yet again in years.

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Sex Scandals Signal an End to Singapore's Corruption-Free

Singapore has long prided -- and touted -- itself as a place where the type of corruption rampant elsewhere in Asia simply does not exist. The high salaries paid to Singapore officials -- junior cabinet ministers earn $750,000 and the prime minister gets $1.7 million -- are supposed to forestall financial temptation.

But a recent string of high-profile corruption scandals has highlighted Singapore officials' weakness to other forms of temptation as well.

The cases coincide with Singapore losing its crown as the world's least corrupt country, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. In December the city-state slid to the fifth position, behind New Zealand, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

The Singaporean government appears to have taken notice. Earlier this month, law minister K Shanmugam said in a speech that anyone who breaches "moral rectitude and correct conduct in public service" is "likely to be found out, and severe punishment is certain for those who are guilty." 

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Steamy year for high-ranking Singapore men

For the second week running, alleged indiscretions of high-ranking men have been making the headlines in Singapore. On Tuesday, it was former Central Narcotics Bureau director Ng Boon Gay’s turn in court. He is alleged to have used his position to gain sexual favours. Ng is said to have obtained oral sex four times from Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, a sales manager seeking government contracts for information technology vendors.

His court date follows that of Peter Lim Sin Pang, the former Singapore Civil Defence Force commissioner who was charged with similar offences last week. Lim faces 10 counts of corruption involving sex with women executives seeking government contracts for their companies.

The duo are but the most recent examples of what has been a steamy year for high-ranking Singaporean men. Indeed, Singapore has never had such a slew of sex scandals crop up around the same time. In February, former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong was expelled from the Workers’ Party amid allegations of extramarital affairs. In April, 48 men – including a school principal and those holding prominent positions in the private sector – were accused of having sex with an underaged prostitute in an online vice ring. While the spotlight in the latest cases has mostly been trained on corruption, there are increased murmurings on the issue of promiscuity and sexual morality in Singapore. 

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The Singapore Stink

So much corruption and sleaze in such short interval . . .
  • Church Pastor siphoning off $millions from church funds to fund wifey's rock star career
  • School principal and other prominent men charged for having paid sex with under-age prostitute (under 18)
  • Chief of SCDF charged with corruption for having sex with supplier
  • Chief of CNB charged with corruption for having sex with supplier
  • NUS Law Prof charged with corruption for receiving gifts and sex from lady student
  • NParks Director suspended for 'Bromptom Bicyclegate'
  • Lady teacher charged for having sex with under-age boy student (under 16)
  • Ex-Minister having to answer to "River Taxigate"
With the above allegations, it looks like squeaky-clean Singapore (pride and joy of a spiteful old man blinded by ego) is smelling like rat . . . a stinking dead rat! 

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Sex, lies and millions in 'scandal-pore'

Sex, lies and millions in 'scandal-pore'

2012 may be Singapore’s most scandal-ridden year yet, barely halfway through it and already five high profile scandals have pulled at the moral fabric of our once squeaky-clean nation.

Acts, we can only assume (and allegedly) committed in the name of achieving happiness, prosperity and progress, here’s a look at the first – and hopefully, only – five scandals of 2012.

Aptly named as the biggest sex scandal to ever run wild in Singapore, the online vice ring involved 48 men who allegedly had paid sex with an underage prostitute after engaging her services online. Three big names popped up in this sexual foray: Lee Lip Hong, former principal of Pei Chun Public School, Howard Shaw, former Singapore Environment Council head and Chua Ren Cheng, former teacher at River Valley High School. 

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Censorship, sex and scandal in Singapore

Almost three years ago, Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) approached Tey Tsun Hang, a Malaysian-born law associate professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), about becoming a “listening post” – meaning that he would provide information about goings-on in the law faculty, including his own work. In return, Tey would meet the ISD’s boss: someone who could “protect” Tey in the future. Left unsaid was that the ISD, Singapore’s secret police, who hold the power to detain indefinitely without charge or trial, could have easily revoked Tey’s permanent residency status.

“It’s a necessary evil and compromise for me,” Tey wrote to a colleague in September 2010 about the arrangement. “I feel cowardly. Without academic spine.” The colleague counselled a softly, softly approach, to “engage and persuade, not confront and antagonise”. Tey countered that the results would be “half-truth scholarship” and he would be a “collaborator [who] pretends [his work] is not censored when it is”.

Still, the next day Tey sent copies of all of his academic work to his ISD contact, asking the officer “to let me know which parts/pages/paragraphs/lines are not allowed and must be taken out”.

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Sex and its consequences

All that bad sex that is happening in the civil service is over, unless you want to count the seemingly never-ending underage sex case involving more than 50 men.

Here’s the count: Peter Lim, former head of Singapore Civil Defence Force got six months jail yesterday. That’s hefty but then again, he also had sex or some kind of sexual liasons with two other women with business connections to the SCDF. Six months, by the way, is one month more than the prosecution had asked for. His lawyers said they would be appealing.

In his defence, he had painted Ms Pang Chor Mui as a “seductress desperate to have sex with him’’, a point which the judge described as “distasteful’’ when she sentenced him.

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Sex in the city drags you down

It was as though Singapore was invaded by a type of virus in the air that destroyed human immunity against sexual misconduct.

It spread through the city, striking down young and middle-aged Singaporeans – from Members of Parliament, elite civil servants and business executives to cleaners and lorry drivers.

Sexual exposes dragged in personalities such as university professors, lawyers, police officers and prominent educators, as well as teenage boys and girls.

related: Sex in the city drags you down

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High Fliers In Hot Soup

We kid you not. Some children in Singapore are so poor, they don't stay back after school for remedial lessons because they can't afford to eat at the canteen. That's what financial lifelines like the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund are meant for. Imagine what sort of despicables would stoop to rob from such impoverished unfortunates.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) senior vice-president Peter Khoo was charged in court yesterday for misappropriating shopping vouchers to the tune of $23,000 while he was the organising chairman of the activities and events for the School Pocket Money Fund. That plus obtaining monetary gratifications from related shady business deals between July 2006 and August 2010.

The nation had yet to come to grips with last week's exposé regarding Chief of Protocol with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lim Cheng Hoe's fiddling with his expense claims for overseas trips. A guy who was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2009, and careerist veteran of 38 years playing host for countless VVIP visits. No information is given about the monetary sums involved, but whatever amount he pocketed, he will be paying for it in spades. 

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Let there be light

The latest scandal in Singapore, this time involving the sale of  computer systems in town councils to a firm which apparently was set-up with a capital of $2 enforces the claims by some about our Potemkin village status — that many still take as somehow reflecting that all is well in the country.

Background to this kerfuffle can be read here: link 1link 2link 3link 4.

To those diehard supporters of the Establishment who may sometimes look in on this site (apart from concerned citizens and those just learning of this issue): Please be aware that this situation is something that bears some thought. If this strange issue involving a single tender being won by a firm composing three former MPs of the ruling party does not smack of conflict of interest, then the term ‘conflict of interest’ has lost all meaning.

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Sex on Page Six

Singapore newspapers should come with a rating system judging from the number of explicit articles on incidents revolving around ‘sex for favours’ lately. Page 6 of today’s Straits Times reads like some orgy of stupidity with educators, businessmen, and even cops getting in trouble for obtaining sexual services from people who blew their cover (no pun intended).

First story on page 6 revolves around Professor Tey Tsun Hang embroiled in a sex-for-grades scandal with his student. The best part is apart from offering Professor Tay sex, he also received expensive gifts from this girl such as a Jorg Gray watch valued between $500 to $750. Talk about being kiasu.

The second story involves match fixing but with a heavy dose of..you guessed it…sex thrown in. Businessman Eric Ding Si Yang apparently offered prostitutes to three Lebanese football match officials in return for fixing a game and was bailed at $150,000. As we all know, match fixing is a serious business with a lot of money involved so I’m sure the prostitutes involved were of pretty ‘high’ quality. Maybe there were more than one given to each coach so they would get more ‘bang for their buck’ (pun intended).

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One interviewee said that video was " quite obscene and it is only making use of lust."

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Sex and the Singapore city


Sex is hardly in the minds of the average Singaporeans as they are too busy working

What does sex got to do with real estate in Singapore? Plenty. Having sex (read: procreating and getting married) means eligible Singaporeans get a head start in buying a property in terms of government grants amounting up to S$40, 000 (US$31, 531). That amount is quite a lot bearing in mind Singapore has one of the highest property prices and the top ten most expensive city to live in the world.

But what if you are single by default? Then, buying a property would be very challenging unless you hold a high paying job. Singapore’s housing policies are structured around a wholesome mission that assumes everyone will eventually get married. While I understand the government’s objective of implementing such policies, I do think this is flawed and penalises singles unfairly.

Currently, the only form of government grants singles are eligible is S$15, 000 (US$11, 831) when they buy a resale public flat. It used to be S$5, 000 (US$3, 944) but has been revised upwards as resale flats have gone up by a whopping 90 per cent since the fourth quarter of 2005. Therefore, there are well-educated singles who fall into what I call the “sandwiched class”. They earn too high a salary to qualify for a government grant but find buying a private apartment out of their budget.

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2012 has been a year of sex scandals in Singapore

In April, 44 men were charged with having sex with the same underage girl. The number of men implicated in the online vice ring case swelled to 51 after some time. The lack of details in the charges drew barbs.

"How is anybody going to know what he is charged for when you don't know who the girl is, you do not know what her age is? We just can't accept the word of the prosecution isn't it?" said lawyer Subhas Anandan.

"Well, we are going to ask the prosecution, the DPP, to give us further particulars. If they do not give us the further particulars, we will take it up in the High Court." This was resolved later when certain details were disclosed to the defence.

Names of 48 men charged for sex with underage prostitute 


48 men have been charged in court for paying for sex with an underage prostitute. Another 14 are under probe.

The accused include civil servants, high flyers in the finance industry, and other notable figures. 80 men have been implicated in the case. More charges are expected to be filed.

The following is a list of 44 men who have been charged with having commercial sex with a person under 18 years of age. The youngest accused is 21 years old, and the oldest is 48. The accused include a former police superintendent, military officers, a lawyer, businessmen and other professionals. 


14 charged for having paid sex with underage girl



Following the exposure of two underage prostitution rackets that rocked the country last year, a third ring involving a minor has been uncovered. Fourteen men, aged between 22 and 75, were hauled to court yesterday for having commercial sex with a girl who was 17 years old.

More men are expected to be charged in the coming days for paying for sex with the same teenager, who cannot be named to protect her identity. Within two weeks in May this year, the 14 men allegedly paid between S$40 and S$150 for the girl’s sexual services at several budget hotels and a lodging house in the Geylang area, the court heard. Under the law, anyone who obtains the sexual services of a person under the age of 18 can be jailed for up to seven years and/or fined.

The 14 men are: Ng Chak Song, 57, social worker; Toh Toh Loh, 60, labourer; Shoh Kwan Heng, 42, IT manager; Ho Chee Keong, 36, treasury advisor; Tiah Oon Kai, 66, bookkeeper; Low Kia How, 51, cleaner; Koh Sui Kim, 65, cleaner; Chong Kwong Ann, 75, unemployed (two charges); Lim Chee Seng, 72, house-keeper; Ong Boon Hock, 61, assistant manager (two charges); Ng Keng Siong, 56, project manager; Yap Jun Hao, 22, full-time National Serviceman; Ernest Lee Min Chong, 25, undergraduate; and Yeo Choon Seng, 42, logistics supervisor.

related:
14 men face charges for having paid sex with underage girl
Pimp made underage prostitute give him oral sex
He’s not a victim of ignorance
Girl in underage sex case drugged, raped & bashed into prostitution
Expat in sex case threatens to jump from condo

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More local women linked to pimp of underage prostitute



At first glance, he appears to be a clean-cut man with a head for business.

Tang Boon Thiew, 38, who was educated in Britain and owns an online marketing firm, has several start-up firms under his belt.

And based on his picture that has appeared in newspapers, the bespectacled Tang could pass off as your typical next-door neighbour.

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Girls as young as 15 want to be social escorts



A the tender age of 15, most girls are still in school, studying hard to obtain good grades.

But Mr Kurt Tay, who owns 4ever Escort Massage Agency, said he occasionally receives calls from girls as young as 15 who want to work for him.

Mr Tay, who has been in the business for about two years, said: "I receive such calls from underage girls every few months or so and I will tell them that I'm not interested.

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Police arrest 168 for various offences in islandwide operation



In a continued effort to clamp down criminal activities, Central Police Division with support from Criminal Investigation Department and Traffic Police, conducted a series of operations from 3 to 7 April 2013. 

These operations resulted in the arrest of 168 persons, comprising 62 males and 106 females between the ages of 18 and 72, for various offences. 


The operations saw officers cracking down on illegal gambling in the Jalan Besar area, with enforcement checks conducted at public entertainment outlets, and massage establishments located along Marina Bay, South Bridge Road and Little India. Road blocks were also set up within to detect drink driving. 


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71 women arrested in multi-agency operation in Geylang

Police on Saturday said that 71 women were arrested in an eight-hour multi-agency operation on entertainment outlets in the Geylang area.

The women were arrested for unlawful employment and immigration offences.

The joint operation, which ended at 5am on Saturday, involved officers from Bedok Police Division, the Central Narcotics Bureau and the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

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152 arrested in 18-hour CID-led operation

152 suspects were arrested in an 18-hour joint operation led by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The operation, which also involved the Police, Central Narcotics Bureau and Singapore Customs, ended early on Saturday morning.

It targeted entertainment outlets, lodging houses, coffee shops and back-alleys in areas such as Geylang, Bukit Batok, Selegie, Joo Chiat, Jalan Sultan, Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio and Clementi.

Of the 152 suspects arrested, 98 are males and 54 are females -- all aged between 17 and 54 years old. They are suspected of offences linked to gang activity, drug abuse, illegal betting, immigration, vice and cigarette smuggling. 

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153 complaints against doctors here last year

Complaints about alleged professional negligence and competence of doctors surged last year from 2010, even as the total number of complaints received by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) remained stable.

The SMC, which regulates the professional conduct of doctors here, received 96 complaints alleging professional negligence and competence last year, more than double the 44 received in 2010.

These formed the bulk of the 153 complaints received last year, which held steady from 2010 when there were 152 complaints. The number of complaints per 1,000 doctors, however, dipped from 16 to 15, as the number of doctors here grew by 7.6 per cent to 10,057 last year.

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Lawyers Do It Too

National University of Singapore (NUS) associate law professor Tey Tsun Hang was arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) in April this year for allegedly giving out a good grade in exchange for sex.

To date he has not been suspended by the university, he still gets to keep his Herman Miller seat (or equivalent) - poor Nparks staff had their Brompton bikes taken away.

Maybe it has to do with the precedent set by Ministry of Education (MOE) when they allowed their scholar Jonathan Wong to teach in a Secondary School in July 2010 despite being arrested for possession and making of child pornography in the United Kingdom earlier in March. MOE's lame excuse was: “His offence only came to light after he was charged in court in November.” NUS has to come up with something more credible. 

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God in the City

First they took sex offenders to court. Then they took civil offenders to court. They also took commercial offenders to court. And the latest, they took God to court.

There has been a spate of court cases on corruption June. Don't know if this is because of the sweltering temperature. This was preceded by sex cases in May. I wonder what July will bring. One cannot but be impressed by the work rate of the Attorney General's Chambers.


Going by these cases (and more to come?), they can look forward to big performance bonuses at the end of the year, particularly if the cases lead to convictions and fines. I am not suggesting for a moment that the AGC has monetary motives in mind when they haul people to court. I am glad that they are doing what they are paid to do - uphold the law of the land and make the point that Singapore is not a place for any sort of hanky-panky.


All About The City Harvest Case
About the case

For two years, from 2010, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) conducted a concurrent investigation and inquiry into suspected financial irregularities inside the City Harvest church.

On June 26, 2012, five of its leaders, including founder Kong Hee, were arrested over alleged misuse of church funds and alleged breaches under charity laws

The COC revealed that financial irregularities of at least $23 million from the charity's funds have been discovered which it said were used with the purported intention to finance Ho Yeow Sun's secular music career to connect with people. 42-year-old pop singer Ho Yeow Sun, also known as Sun Ho, is Kong Hee's wife 


Special: Sex-for-business case



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Full reports, videos and pictures of Ng Boon Gay trial



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Specials on Ng Boon Gay Trial



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The Peter Lim trial


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UNDERAGE SEX SCANDAL
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Singapore's latest sex scandal uncovered




Michael Palmer's resignation draws the attention of international media



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Singapore's biggest online sex scandal case unfolds

Singapore's biggest online sex scandal case unfolds

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teacher-student sex cases



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related:
Crime, Corruption, Scandal & Professional Misconduct 2
Crime, Corruption, Scandal & Professional Misconduct 1
Paying high salaries to mitigate corruption
Maintaining Standards of our Civil Service

Women, Sex and Singapore
Sex in the city drags you down