The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement on Thursday (13 Jul) announcing that Transport Minister S Iswaran is under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
The PMO confirmed that Mr Iswaran will be on leave of absence and must stay in Singapore during the investigation. He will be completely cut off from official resources and prohibited from entering any government buildings for the duration of his leave.
Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat has been appointed to temporarily assume the role of Acting Minister for Transport during Mr Iswaran’s absence.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong acknowledged that it would be “difficult” for Mr Iswaran to undertake his responsibilities during this time, and other Members of Parliament from the People’s Action Party for West Coast GRC will step in for him.
Meanwhile, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) issued a public statement to the Singapore Stock Exchange on Friday (14 Jul), confirming that Mr Ong Beng Seng, its managing director, has been requested by the CPIB to provide information in relation to his interactions with Mr Iswaran.
TOC reported rumours suggesting that the billionaire businessman had also been asked to “assist” in the high-profile CPIB investigation linked to Mr Iswaran.
Mr Ong, the founder of Hotel Properties and the driving force behind the Singapore Grand Prix, is said to have been served with a notice of arrest and has posted bail of $100,000, according to the HPL statement.
The statement also mentioned that Mr Ong would be travelling from Friday (14 Jul) and will surrender his passport to the CPIB upon his return to Singapore.
Despite these developments, HPL assessed that Mr Ong remains suitable to carry out his duties and responsibilities as Managing Director.
At present, it is unknown why the Singapore government has allowed Mr Ong to travel outside of Singapore despite his arrest, while Mr Iswaran, who has not been officially served with a notice of arrest, is required to stay in the country.