CPIB assistant director accused of embezzling over $1.7m engages defence counsel

CPIB assistant director accused of embezzling over $1.7m engages defence counsel
Ex-CPIB officer who was charged last month for misappropriating at least $1.7 million from the anti-graft agency was back in court on Tuesday with a defence counsel in tow.

SINGAPORE - Mr Tan Hee Jeok, the lawyer representing CPIB assistant director Edwin Yeo Seow Hionh, asked the court for a four-week adjournment so that representations can be made to the Attorney Generals Chambers.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

CPIB assistant director facing 21 charges of fraud involving at least $1.7m

SINGAPORE - An officer from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has been charged with misappropriating public funds.

The Straits Times reported assistant director Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong was charged in court on Wednesday for misappropriating at least $1.7 million between 2008 and 2012.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office revealed that CPIB first uncovered the alleged wrong-doing in Sept 2012.

The matter was reported to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force, as the accused was a CPIB officer and the alleged financial impropriety could have amounted to a criminal offence. This was to ensure an impartial and thorough investigation.

The Prime Minister appointed an independent review panel to investigate how this case happened, and to strengthen the financial procedures and audit system in CPIB to prevent a recurrence.

"This case is particularly serious because it involved a senior officer in the CPIB, which is entrusted with the mission of maintaining the integrity of the system," said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the Minister in charge of the Civil Service.

"Public institutions and public officers are held to the highest standards of integrity and conduct. There must be strong enforcement when there is wrongdoing, weaknesses in processes must be tightened, and most importantly there must be good values.

"We will take strong measures to tighten up processes. PMO is examining whether any supervisory lapses may have contributed to this incident. If so, it will take action against the officers responsible.

"As there have been a number of high profile cases recently, the public is understandably concerned about whether this reflects systemic issues in the Public Service. The Service itself is concerned about this. Earlier this year, PMO asked CAD and CPIB to conduct a study of public officers investigated by them for corruption and other financial crimes over the last five years to see whether there was any change in their number or profile.

"On average, CPIB opened 39 cases involving public officers per year for investigation. These cases made up about 20 per cent of all cases opened by CPIB. About two thirds of the investigations involving public officers led to prosecution or disciplinary proceedings.

"Overall the study concluded that cases involving public officers have remained low and quite stable over the last five years. Keeping the numbers low requires constant effort and vigilance.

"Significantly, many cases were reported either by the public, or by officers in the public service. This suggests a strong culture in Singapore and in the Public Service which rejects corruption.

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