Singapore’s ex-transport minister hit with 8 new charges in corruption case

Singapore’s former Transport Minister S Iswaran has been slapped with eight new charges in a rare corruption case involving the city-state’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

The charges relate to allegations that Iswaran obtained valuable goods worth about 18,956 Singapore dollars ($14,077) from an individual who had business dealings with the Transport Ministry, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement on Monday.

“Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption,” the CPIB said.

“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.”

The alleged gifts received by Iswaran include whisky, golf clubs and a Brompton bicycle, local media reported.

The charges come after Iswaran was in January charged with 27 corruption offences, most of them related to his alleged receipt of gifts from Malaysian billionaire Ong Beng Seng.

Ong, who played a key role in bringing the Singapore Grand Prix to the city-state in 2008 while Iswaran was in government, is alleged to have given the former minister tickets to West End shows and football matches in exchange for advancing his business interests.

Iswaran, who stepped down as an MP and resigned from the PAP, denied the charges at the time and promised to clear his name.

Corruption scandals are rare in Singapore, which is known for its strict laws and tough enforcement.

Singapore was ranked the fifth-least corrupt country in the 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, following Norway, New Zealand, Finland and Denmark.

The case involving Iswaran is the first corruption probe concerning a minister since 1986, when then Minister for National Development Teh Cheang Wan was accused of accepting bribes from businesses.

Teh died before charges were brought against him.

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