Squeaky-clean Singapore to replace head of anti-corruption unit

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2013 9:02 AM

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Squeaky-clean Singapore is to replace the head of its anti-corruption agency after a review panel found supervisory lapses that allowed a senior officer to allegedly siphon off some S$1.7 million ($1.34 million) in public funds over six years.

The Southeast Asian city-state, known for its tough laws, is widely regarded as having one of the world's least corrupt governments. Transparency International ranked Singapore at number four it its latest global index, behind New Zealand, Denmark and Finland.

Eric Tan, who has led the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) since 2010, has been issued with a formal letter of warning for the lapses and has accepted responsibility, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

"To maintain public trust and confidence in CPIB and to fully implement the review panel's recommendations, the prime minister has decided that Mr Wong Hong Kuan, currently chief executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, will succeed Mr Eric Tan as director CPIB when Mr Tan's term ends on Sept 30," it said.

The news of Tan's impending departure comes a month after the head of CPIB's field research and technical support branch, Edwin Yeo, was charged with misappropriating funds. Yeo's case will be heard later this month.

According to media reports, Yeo lost some of the money gambling at the Marina Bay Sands casino, one of two multi-billion-dollar casino-resorts that opened in 2010 as part of efforts to boost Singapore's tourism industry.

($1 = S$1.3)

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Nick Macfie)