The Singapore Parliament in session / photo

Workers’ Party to file Parliamentary Questions on Keppel corruption scandal

Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied GRC Pritam Singh wrote a Facebook post on Friday evening, posting a couple of questions which he and his fellow MPs from Workers’ Party had filed for the 8 January Parliament sitting, on what has been described by one of its leaders as a “shocking” international bribery scandal involving Keppel Corp’s offshore and marine unit.

Mr Pritam, who is also the Workers’ Party’s assistant secretary-general, in his questions, questioned the role of Temasek Holdings and the finance ministry in overseeing the conduct of government-linked companies (GLCs) and details of follow-up actions by Singapore authorities.

Apart from Mr Singh, Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat also tabled questions.

Mr Pritam in his post, wrote that he was “rather surprised” to see no question on the matter filed by any PAP MP, “suggesting that a Ministerial Statement may well be made”.

However, as the last day for filing the PQs was on 26 December, it will have to be seen if the questions will be deferred for the next sitting or set down for a written answer.

Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) said in a press statement last Saturday (23 December) that it has agreed to pay US$422 million (S$570 million) in fines as part of global resolution with authorities in Singapore, Brazil and the United States.

The US Justice Department said that from 2001 to 2014, KOM had engaged in a scheme to pay US$55 million in bribes to win contracts.

Here is what the post wrote in full:

Keppel O&M Corruption Scandal

The last day to file Parliamentary Questions for the 8 Jan 2018 sitting of Parliament was 26 December 2017 at 4.30pm. Amidst the shocking revelation of what must be one of the largest corruption scandals in the history of Singapore’s Government Linked Companies, I was most surprised to see the virtual absence of any substantive information on this scandal on the AGC or CPIB websites except a brief media statement on the conditional warning given to Keppel, something made even more curious in view of Keppel’s denial over a year ago that its top executives were even involved in giving out bribes for contracts. The US Department of Justice website has helpfully uploaded some useful documents in the public interest that flesh out this corruption saga in greater detail.

The WP MPs have filed the following questions on this matter for the upcoming Parliamentary session but we will have to wait and see if these questions are prioritised amongst the first 15 or so for oral answer, failing which they will have to be deferred for the next sitting or set down for a written answer. This corruption scandal invites many other angles to consider too, so I was rather surprised to see no question on the matter filed by any PAP MP, suggesting that a Ministerial Statement may well be made. But then again, the Speaker has the power to allow questions to be admitted after 26 Dec 2017, if he determines to allow so.

Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the penalty of US$422 million to be paid by Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd for corrupt payments between 2001 to 2014 to officials of Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Brazil’s then ruling party was part of a three-nation plea bargain agreement, involving United States, Brazil and Singapore, and Keppel companies; and (b) what are the considerations in reaching such arrangements, which have implications on local law enforcement and prosecutorial decisions.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Finance in respect of Keppel Offshore and Marine’s (KOM) agreement to pay a US$422 million fine as part of a three-nation corruption probe settlement (a) whether the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) Deferred Prosecution Agreement on the KOM corruption probe settlement, or any other agreement, includes any condition that prevents the public disclosure of the identities of the Singaporeans who are involved; and (b) when does the Government expect the CPIB and AGC to formally complete investigations and to charge the individuals in question in view of the criminal findings made against KOM by the US DoJ.

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how much more time will the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) need to complete the investigations in respect of the Singaporeans involved in the Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) corruption case since KOM and its wholly-owned US subsidiary, KOM USA, have agreed to pay more than US$422 million in penalty to resolve corruption charges of paying about US$55 million in bribes to secure contracts; and (b) how far back in time will CPIB go to in its investigation into the Singaporeans involved since the corrupt activities were committed as early as 2001.

Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Finance (a) how many Singapore Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) or their subsidiaries locally or overseas have been investigated or continue to be investigated by local or overseas authorities for corrupt practices over the last 30 years; and (b) what role do the Ministry and Temasek Holdings play to ensure that GLCs or their subsidiaries do not engage in corrupt practices when conducting business overseas.