SINGAPORE — Transport Minister S. Iswaran made an appearance at the headquarters of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Tuesday (18 Jul) morning.
This marked the first time he was observed by the media since his arrest on 11 July.
As reported by The Straits Times, Mr. Iswaran, who is currently under CPIB’s investigation, arrived at approximately 10:50 am in a grey Mazda 6 and entered the CPIB complex in Jalan Bukit Merah alone.
He was attired in a blue shirt and dark trousers during his visit.
On Monday, Prominent businessman Ong Beng Seng, 77, returned to Singapore from Bali n, amid an ongoing corruption probe by the anti-graft body.
Last Friday, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) disclosed that both Transport Minister S. Iswaran and tycoon Ong Beng Seng were arrested on 11 July.
They are currently cooperating with the authorities in connection with an investigation into a case that the CPIB had discovered. However, specific details regarding the nature of the probe were not provided by the CPIB.
Both Ong and Iswaran were subsequently released on bail, with Iswaran’s passport confiscated. The amount of bail for Iswaran was not disclosed, but it was known that Ong was granted bail of $100,000.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has directed Minister Iswaran, 61, to take a leave of absence until the investigation is completed.
The Transport Minister will remain in Singapore during this period and will be denied access to any official resources and government buildings.
Ong is best known as the man who brought Formula One to the city-state.
In 2007, he secured the deal to bring the prestigious Formula One race to Singapore, primarily due to his rapport with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone is currently facing allegations of failing to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account holding about £400 million.
Last year, Singapore GP, backed by Ong and the Singapore Tourism Board, extended the city-state’s contract to host the F1 night race through 2028.
This was the fourth and longest contract renewal, with previous deals ranging between four and five years.
Iswaran, who was the former Minister for Trade from 2015-2018, said that the decision to host Formula One for another seven years came after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that such an extension could bring to Singapore.
In 2021, Iswaran told the media that talks were ongoing with Formula One management and race organisers Singapore GP to renew the contract.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry and Singapore Tourism Board jointly cover 60% of the S$135 million annual night race costs, while race promoters Singapore GP bear the remaining expenses.
PM Lee: No system can be completely infallible
Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong, speaking following news of the corruption probe on Minister S Iswaran and the resignations of two People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin and Cheng Li Hui, said on Monday:
“No system can be completely infallible. You appoint people, sometimes things go wrong, you have to find out and you have to put it right.”
“One is unequivocal about cleaning up and making sure his country does not “go to the dogs.”