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Singapore launches corruption probe involving transport minister

BusinessSingapore launches corruption probe involving transport minister

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Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said July 12 that he has instructed the country’s transport minister S. Iswaran to go on leave after he was implicated in an anti-graft agency investigation.

Roslan Rahman | Afp | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked the country’s transport minister to go on leave, saying he was involved in an anti-graft agency investigation.

S. Iswaran is among several unnamed individuals currently assisting Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in investigations and he will be on leave until investigations are completed, Lee said in a statement Wednesday.

“I have instructed Minister Iswaran to take leave of absence until these investigations are completed,” Lee said, without elaborating on the specifics of the case.

Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat will be acting minister for transport, Lee added. Iswaran is also overseeing Singapore’s trade relations.

The announcement comes weeks after a state review on allegations made against two other cabinet ministers regarding their rental of government-owned colonial bungalows.  

A review led by a senior member of Lee’s cabinet found no basis in allegations of corruption and abuse of power against Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Neither of the two ministers were asked to go on leave.

Since Iswaran’s political entry at the 1997 elections, the Harvard-educated politician has worn several hats in government. They include stints at the ministries for education, home affairs, trade and industry, and communications and information. Before that, he was senior vice president and managing director at state investor Temasek Holdings.

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Singapore pays its ministers the highest salaries in the world. The Southeast Asian city-state prides itself for its clean reputation and is currently fifth on Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index.

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