Pritam Singh asked Indranee Rajah many questions about Keppel’s corruption case. She responds.

Back-and-forth.

By Sulaiman Daud |Chan Cheow Pong | January 9, 2018

Workers’ Party MP Pritam Singh earlier filed a number of parliamentary questions on the Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd. (KOM) corruption case for the Jan. 8 sitting of Parliament.

Keppel O&M corruption scandal, explained

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah responded to the questions. But Pritam subsequently raised additional supplementary questions which elicited further responses from Indranee.

Here’s a rundown of the back-and-forth exchange between them.

1. Will Temasek Holdings call for an extraordinary general meeting?

Pritam asked if Temasek Holdings will call for an extraordinary general meeting to pursue civil action and seek equitable compensation from those responsible for the case.

Indranee responded with an oft-repeated point, saying that the Government and Temasek does not interfere in the day-to-day management or running of Temasek portfolio companies.

She  said the company has engaged in substantive remedial measures, including

  • Took disciplinary action against 17 former or current employees in relation to the misconduct
  • 7 employees who participated in the conduct described in the statement of facts left the from the company,
  • Issued demotions and/or written warnings to 7 employees who failed to detect the misconduct and failed to take appropriate steps to mitigate corruption and compliance risk
  • Imposed approximately US$8.9 million in financial sanctions on 12 former or current employees as part of the disciplinary process
  • Conducted individualised anti-corruption and compliance training for 6 employees.

“Anything further than that is a matter for the Keppel Group or for the company in this case to determine, not for the Government.”

In short: No, it is not for Temasek or the government to decide.

2. Was the government aware of Keppel board’s conduct?

Pritam asked if the Government was aware whether the Keppel board gave the CEO broad powers to enter into the contract.

Indranee again reiterated that Keppel is in charge of its own operations and “what was known or not known within Keppel is really a Keppel matter.”

“That’s not a question for the government. What was known or not known within Keppel is really a Keppel matter. Keppel’s media release states that the current boards of directors of Keppel Corporation and its unit, KOM, were not aware of the illegal payments.

Now that is Keppel’s position. As far as the government is concerned as I have explained, the government is a shareholder in Temasek which owns just over 20 per cent of Keppel Corporation. The operations of Keppel are run by Keppel itself.”

In short: No, Keppel is in charge of its own operations.

3. What is the KOM subsidiary in Singapore that paid bribes?

Pritam asked for the name of the KOM subsidiary in Singapore mentioned by US Department of Justice for paying bribes of US$17 million to an entity in Miami, Florida.

Indranee did not have the information with her.

In short: Until the name is revealed, it’s still called KOM subsidiary.

4. Was former Keppel CEO and former Ambassador to Brazil Choo Chiau Beng involved?

Pritam pointed out that former Keppel CEO and senior adviser Choo Chiau Beng, was the Singapore ambassador to Brazil from 2004 till 2016.

He asked if Choo was removed as ambassador because of his involvement or knowledge of the bribery scheme.

Indranee did not provide a reason. She gave an answer sticking to some obvious facts.

“Mr Singh asked about the circumstances in which Mr Choo stepped down as ambassador. I do not have that information. What I can say is that he has stepped down and he is not involved in an ambassadorial role at the present time.”

In short: For reasons unknown, Choo is no longer our Brazil ambassador

5. Why are the individuals involved not identified?

This is an exchange worth quoting in full, given the names that have been circulating in media reports and yet the authorities have neither confirm or deny the accuracy of these reports.

Pritam: “My final question pertains to the matter of the identities of the individuals identified in the DPA. There is a dissonance between what the public reads in the newspapers for individuals who are being investigated, for example, the general manager of Ang Mo Kio town council.

No charges, I understand, have been preferred against him yet but his identity is well-known to the public. How does the Minister reconcile that with the non-disclosure of the names of the individuals involved in the Keppel matter?”

Indranee Rajah: “When investigations are ongoing, the Government does not disclose identities of people being investigated.

What other people may say outside that is separate. But as a government, as an investigation authority, we don’t disclose names of individuals who are being investigated. You don’t want to prejudice either the investigations or the persons being investigated depending on how it turns out.”

In short: Not disclosing names of the individuals who are being investigated is government policy. It does not control what others say outside.

You can watch the full exchange between Pritam and Indranee below. It begins at 28:25 and finishes at 36:45:

Top image from Gov.sg’s YouTube channel.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve. In his spare time he writes about film, pop-culture and international politics, which you are very welcome to read here.

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