“How much longer will it take for the CPIB to continue investigations on a case that has brought much disrepute to Singapore?”
This is the question one Singaporean asked, as he reflected on how the Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) case has negatively impacted Singapore’s reputation.
Late last year, news broke that KOM was involved in a mega bribery case in Brazil. Some US$55 million was reported to have been paid by a Keppel agent to Brazilian govt officials in order for KOM to secure deals in Brazil.
These “improper payments” were made over a from 2001 to 2014, and they were carried out with the knowledge or approval of former Keppel senior executives.
When Bloomberg broke the news last August, Keppel quickly issued a public statement to deny the allegation. The Temasek subsidiary only came clean four months later and acknowledged that the corrupt payments made by their agent to Brazilian officials were “made with knowledge or approval” of former senior executives of Keppel.
Keppel Offshore & Marine USA pleaded guilty to the bribery scheme which ran for more than a decade, while its parent, Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine, entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the government. It agreed to pay $422 million to end the U.S. bribery probe.
Instead of just asking how long the authorities will continue to investigate KOM, one Singaporean, Prof Sattar Bawany, wrote directly to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to enquire about the status of the prosecution of those involved in the KOM case.
Prof Bawany is a global leadership development practitioner and C-Suite master executive coach. He runs The Centre for Executive Education (CEE Global).
The AGC referred Prof Bawany to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). CPIB responded to his queries, as follows:
“The Government had provided an update on the Keppel Offshore and Marine investigations to Parliament in January 2019. The update can be found in the following link.
“Please be assured that the CPIB will investigate the case thoroughly when all evidence and information have been secured. Only after the investigations are completed, can AGC then properly assess the case and decide on the appropriate response. As investigations into the individuals concerned are ongoing, we are unable to comment further.”
The parliamentary update CPIB referred Prof Bawany to is from 14 Jan 2019, when Workers’ Party politician Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong asked the Prime Minister to provide an update on the status of the CPIB investigation, in respect of the Singaporeans involved in the KOM corruption case.
Mr Tan also asked for an update on the actions which have been taken against responsible individuals thus far. Responding on behalf of the PM, ruling party politician Ms Indranee Rajah responded:
“Investigations into the individuals concerned are ongoing. A request for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) has been sent out to the foreign authorities to formally seek assistance to secure or obtain further evidence for use in CPIB investigations.
“We are awaiting reply on our request; how quickly and to what extent our request will be processed is a matter for the jurisdiction to which the request is made.
“We wish to assure the member that the CPIB will investigate the case thoroughly when all evidence and information have been secured. Only after the investigations are completed, can AGC then properly assess the case and decide on the appropriate response.”
Sharing his correspondence with the CPIB on social media, Prof Bawany asked:
“I wonder how much longer will it take for the CPIB to continue investigations on a case that has brought much disrepute to Singapore and stained our international standing of a near corruption-free country.”
Read his post in full here: