Thursday, 21 September 2023

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Director in National Research Foundation under PM’s Office faces corruption charge

SINGAPORE — A director of a research department under the Prime Minister’s Office has been accused of accepting bribes to promote a company’s business interests.

On Friday (23 June), Henry Wong Chuen Yuen, the director of programmes and the central innovation cluster at the National Research Foundation (NRF), was charged with one count of corruption.

The 53-year-old director also serves as a member of the project evaluation panel at the Built Environment Technology Alliance (Beta).

According to the Straits Times, between May and August 2021, Wong allegedly accepted gratification in the form of a 30% shareholding in the company Smart Illumination from its director, 50-year-old Lee Tze Boon.

This arrangement was purportedly made to advance the company’s business interests in its grant funding application to Beta.

Lee was also charged with one count of corruption on Friday.

Both men can be fined up to S$100,000 for corruption

During the court proceedings, both Wong and Lee expressed their intention to engage their own legal representation.

If convicted, Wong and Lee could be subjected to a maximum penalty of a S$100,000 fine, imprisonment for up to five years, or both, for the corruption offenses.

The next court hearing is scheduled for 13 July.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau stated in a statement that the case was referred to them by the NRF.

Established in 2006 under the Prime Minister’s Office, the NRF is responsible for setting the national direction for research and development through the implementation of policies, plans, and strategies.

A quick examination of Henry Wong’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he held the position of Director of the Integrated Programme Office (IPO) at NRF from November 2018.

According to Wong’s LinkedIn description, the IPO’s role is to “develop and enhance Singapore’s research, development, and deployment capabilities in the energy, water, environment, and urban solution sectors. Its objective is to support industry growth and development while leveraging these capabilities to foster innovation in addressing national challenges.”

Additionally, the IPO serves to provide senior management at NRF with guidance on research, development, and deployment (RD&D) strategy.

Prior to his tenure at NRF, Henry Wong also spent five years (from 2013 to 2018) working at the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR).


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