SINGAPORE - Could the Auditor-General clarify whether he considered referring some of the public procurement irregularities he uncovered to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) for further investigation ("Auditor-General flags procurement lapses"; last Thursday)?
Almost all of the irregularities cited in the news report appeared to suggest potential contravention of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
As the Auditor-General is not equipped for criminal investigations, should he not avail himself of the expertise of the CPIB?
If he had reasons to believe this was not warranted, could he share these with the public?
The Finance Ministry has reiterated that the public procurement system is robust and that such lapses are due to human errors and non-compliance.
If so, civil servants must be made to understand in no uncertain terms that whenever such lapses occur, the presumption - unless and until proven otherwise - must be that the lapses were committed for their personal benefit.
Such healthy pressure should help ensure that a robust procurement system is not thwarted by those entrusted to run it.
- Cheng Shoong Tat
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