Singapore takes corruption very seriously. The famously straight-laced country features some of the world’s lowest corruption rates. Now, a Singaporean diplomat is facing 15 months in jail for making false expense claims over wine and pineapple tarts.
Lim Cheng Hoe, Singapore’s former chief of protocol, has been found guilty of cheating the Singaporean government out of USD 70,000 dollars. He was convicted of 10 charges, though an additional 50 charges were considered during sentencing. The low dollar amount of the crime likely kept him out of jail for a more extensive period of time.
Apparently, Mr. Lim submitted claims for approximately 10,000 boxes of tarts and 250 bottles of wine, but only purchased 2,226 boxes of tarts and 89 bottles of wine. He faced up to 10 years in jail, but received a relatively light sentence.
Anti-corruption official jailed for 10 years
Edwin Yeo was also found guilty of corruption. The former assistant director of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was found guilty of misappropriating USD 1.4 million dollars. This case marked one of the largest and most significant cases of corruption in Singapore’s history.
Apparently, Mr. Yeo took money from the agency to pay for personal expenses. Mr. Yeo also developed a gambling habit and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars at Singapore’s casinos. Mr. Yeo had worked at the anti-corruption agency for over 15 years.
This marked the first time that an official at the agency had been charged with a corruption-related offense in over 10 years. The case was so big that Prime Minister Lee was forced to rebuke the agency’s former leaders, accusing them of supervisory lapses
Low corruption a key ingredient to Singapore’s success
While many of Singapore’s neighbors, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, have failed to keep corruption under control, Singapore has done a remarkable job of limiting corruption. Singapore came in at number five on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2013.
These efforts have helped make Singapore one of Asia’s most attractive locations for investment and relocation. Companies and investors alike know that when investing in Singapore, their investments will be projected by a strong rule of law. They also know that they won’t have to deal with paying off officials and engaging in other illicit activities.
It should come as no surprise than that Singapore has emerged as South East Asia’s richest countries. While only a small city-state, Singapore is the region’s leading finance center and one of the leading military powers.