Keppel corruption: Pay bigger fine better than prosecuted in S’pore?


Is a bigger fine more important than the “accountability and transparency” of the corruption?

I refer to Elgin Toh’s article “Missteps well accounted for but questions remain” (Straits Times, Jan 9).

It states that “the Government does not tolerate corruption and was “extremely disappointed”. Singapore’s reputation was hurt, she added.

She sought to shift the public’s perception that Keppel got off with “a slap on the wrist” – a phrase used by Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC).

Ms Indranee said the proportion of the fine to be credited to Singapore’s coffers – between US$53 million and US$106 million – exceeds any that could be imposed if Keppel had been charged here, since the maximum fine per charge under corruption laws is $100,000.

Investigations against individuals from Keppel are ongoing, although she noted the difficulties in getting evidence from other jurisdictions.”

The reply in Parliament may arguably, have missed the primary point that Singaporeans may be asking – which is more important? – Getting the “corrupt” company to pay a bigger fine through an overseas settlement, or prosecuting it in Singapore which may result in a much lower fine?

Isn’t the “corruption” more important than the amount of the fines?

How can the prosecution of corruption be relegated to lesser significance than the quantum of the fines?

Do you not find this somewhat illogical?

As one if my friends said – “Oh no – not again – does it not show that everything is about money in Singapore – money is more important even when it comes to corruption?”

What are your thoughts on this?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.