SINGAPORE: In answer to questions from a number of Members of Parliament on Monday (Feb 5) about the government’s Formula 1 contracts, Ms Grace Fu, Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, said that the agreements concerning F1 are being reviewed.
Findings from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) led to 27 charges, including corruption, filed last month against former Transport Minister S Iswaran.
The 2022 F1 race will be audited, Ms Fu told the house but said she could speak no further on the matter. However, she reassured that the government remains committed to this year’s Grand Prix, preparations for which have already started.
She said that the terms of the agreements had already been under close scrutiny by the government through an independent consultancy study.
“There is nothing to suggest, as of now, that either the F1 contracts or other contracts were structured to the disadvantage of the government,” said Ms Fu.
“But as members would appreciate, given the allegations of corruption, we are reviewing the terms of the deal again. We have also asked STB to conduct an audit of the most recent race held in 2022, of which accounts are ready for audit.”
The Singapore Grand Prix was first held in 2008. The agreements that brought the race to the country the year before have been renewed thrice already and will expire by 2028.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry will helm the review, said Ms Fu, and in answer to a question from Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, she added that it may also “involve other agencies in the process.”
Mr Singh’s fellow MP from The Workers Party, Assoc Prof Jamus Lim, asked whether other government contracts with companies owned by hotelier Ong Beng Seng, who brought F1 to Singapore and serves as its sole shareholder of the Grand Prix.
Mr Iswaran is facing 24 additional charges for accepting from Mr Ong “valuable things” worth more than S$384,000 between November 2015 and December 2022.
Ms Fu said that she is unaware of government contracts with Mr Ong’s other companies that are of the same relevance and nature as the F1 agreements.
Also, in the Feb 5 session, the house was informed of Mr Iswaran’s resignation by Speaker Seah Kian Peng. He also reminded the MPs that the case is still before the courts. /TISG