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

CPIB employee, Mr Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong at the subcourts at 1845hrs on Wednesday evening, charged for embezzling money from the company. 

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.

CPIB officer facing fraud charges released on $500,000 court bail

By Ian Poh

Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, who is facing a string of fraud charges in court, has been released on bail after he managed to raise the $500,000 bail bond set by the court earlier.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

CPIB officer facing fraud charges: If allegations are true, Government must deal with it firmly

By Ian Poh

"Inevitably with human nature, you will have people who succumb to temptation, who do things they aren't supposed to do - whether in the Civil Service, banks, law firms or in institutions despite having the best controls," said Mr Shanmugam, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of this year's Singapore Law Week, held at the Supreme Court. "What we need to do is always be vigilant, be on top of it, and make sure these are the exceptions and they don't become the norm."


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

CPIB officer facing fraud charges circumvented Civil Service rules

The anti-graft agency is governed by the Civil Service's instruction manuals and financial procedures, and its officers like all public officers are required to file annual declarations regarding their financial liabilities, and confirm that they are free from financial embarrassment.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

1 out of 5 graft probes by CPIB involves public officers: DPM Teo Chee Hean

On average, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) opens 39 cases involving public officers per year for investigation and these make up about one in five of all graft probes by the agency, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

CPIB officer accused of fraud allegedly started siphoning funds from agency in 2008

He faces 21 charges in total, with eight for criminal breach of trust as a public servant, one count of forging a receipt for a $370,755 payment by the bureau and 12 counts of using the proceeds of his crimes for gambling at the casino at Marina Bay Sands.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

CPIB officer facing 21 charges of fraud involving at least $1.7 million

By Bryna Singh

Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, who faces 21 charges in total, told the court he does not intend to engage a defence lawyer but had asked if he could have some time to deal with "family problems" and to prepare his mitigation plea. The charges, he added, were served on him by the police Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) only on Tuesday.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

More details released by CPIB on Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong's case:

Background

Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong was an Assistant Director with the Field Research and Technical Support (FRTS) Branch of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). The FRTS Branch provides technical support to the Bureau's investigations and operations. Yeo served in the Bureau for 15 years.

CPIB first discovered signs of alleged wrongdoing by Edwin Yeo on 14 September 2012. He was suspended from duty and interdicted the next day, on 15 September 2012, after preliminary investigations.

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

Case facts

According to CAD's investigations, Yeo allegedly misappropriated a total of $1.7 million of funds.

He has been charged with criminal breach of trust and for other alleged acts associated with this. Our System of Checks and Balances

CPIB is governed by the Civil Service's Instruction Manuals (IM) and financial procedures to ensure financial accountability and propriety. CPIB officers, like all public officers, are required to file annual declarations regarding their financial liabilities, and to confirm that they are free from financial embarrassment. In Yeo's case, there were instances where such procedures and declarations were circumvented.

Mr Eric Tan, Director, CPIB said: "I am deeply sorry that a loss of public funds occurred during my watch. As the most senior officer in the agency, I accept responsibility for any lapses or deficiencies which allowed a senior staff's actions to go undetected for four years. CPIB will learn from this. It will strengthen its safeguards and improve its processes to prevent this from happening again."

Following this incident, the Prime Minister appointed an Independent Review Panel led by then-Deputy Secretary (Development), Ministry of Finance, Mr Lim Hock Chuan with two other members to review the circumstances that led to the loss of public funds, and to make recommendations on the CPIB's financial administration and operations. The Panel has completed the review and submitted its report. The Prime Minister has accepted its recommendations which are being implemented by the Bureau to strengthen its financial management and controls. No One is Above the Law

CPIB does not condone any criminal or improper acts by its officers. There have been two cases involving errant CPIB officers in the last two decades.

In 1997, Chan Toh Kai, a Senior Special Investigator with the CPIB was sentenced to one year's imprisonment for cheating. In 2002, Sogamaran s/o Gopal Ramachandran, a Senior Research Officer with the CPIB was jailed two years for corruptly accepting gratification to divulge classified information about an investigation into two police officers attached to the Intellectual Property Rights Branch (IPRB) of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Singapore Police Force.

Both cases were dealt with firmly and the culprits punished under the law. Any officer guilty of wrongdoing will be dealt with firmly and can expect to face disciplinary action or criminal proceedings.

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