SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that Transport Minister S Iswaran’s pay had been cut to $8,500, and his duties have been interdicted amid the Minister’s arrest as part of an ongoing corruption probe.
In a ministerial statement today (2 Aug), Mr Lee provided the timeline of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) probe. He said that CPIB found information that warranted further examination regarding Mr Iswaran.
PM Lee said he was informed about this on 29 May, and the CPIB subsequently pursued the lead independently. On 5 July, PM Lee was briefed on the CPIB’s findings. The CPIB director expressed the need to interview Minister Iswaran to advance the investigation and sought the Prime Minister’s agreement to initiate a formal inquiry. PM Lee granted his concurrence on July 6.
Mr Iswaran was brought in for questioning by the CPIB on July 11 and was subsequently released on bail. In response to the ongoing investigation, PM Lee instructed Mr Iswaran to take a leave of absence until the inquiries were concluded.
Revealing that he has cut Mr Iswaran’s pay, PM Lee said he based his decision on how the civil service handles investigations involving senior officers as there is a lack of established rules or precedents for interdicting a political office holder due to the rarity of such incidents involving ministers.
He assured that once the investigations were completed, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) would determine the appropriate course of action. Regardless of the findings, he promised that the case would be pursued to its logical conclusion.
PM Lee called for restraint and discouraged speculation and conjecture as he urged Members of Parliament and the public to allow the CPIB to conduct a thorough and independent investigation without interference.