'Upright, forthright' corruption buster dies

'Upright, forthright' corruption buster dies
Former CPIB director Evan Yeo and Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Istana last September to mark the 60th anniversary of the CPIB. Mr Yeo leaves behind his wife, a son and daughter, and seven grandchildren.

SINGAPORE - When Evan Yeo Oon Beng retired as the longest-serving director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in 1994, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew wrote to him, saying "You have done well for your country".

That endorsement capped a long career for Mr Yeo, who died on Tuesday last week from pneumonia after a stroke left him in a coma for about five weeks. He was 79.

In the course of 40 years in the public service which included 14 years as director of the CPIB, Mr Yeo received numerous other awards and accolades, including the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in the 1994 National Day Awards.

But it is understood that Mr Lee's note took pride of place for Mr Yeo.

Known to be "upright, forthright and outright", the low-profile and publicity-shy crime buster presided over several high-profile cases that were to cement Singapore's zero-tolerance reputation for graft.

These included the 31-month probe on then National Development Minister Teh Cheang Wan in 1986 for allegedly accepting $1 million in bribes. Mr Teh committed suicide in December that year. A subsequent inquiry commission said Mr Teh might never have been found out if not for the CPIB's commitment to fearless investigation and its perseverance in checking every lead.

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