CPIB director to be replaced over lapse that led to $1.7 million loss of public funds

CPIB director to be replaced over lapse that led to $1.7 million loss of public funds

SINGAPORE - The director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau Eric Tan will be replaced, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office announced on Tuesday, following a recent scandal at the agency in which an assistant director was charged with siphoning off some $1.7 million in public funds over a period of six years.

Mr Tan, who has helmed the bureau since 2010, will leave the agency when his term ends on Sep 30. He will be succeeded by Mr Wong Hong Kuan (above in photo), who is now chief executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

Last month Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong, a 15-year CPIB veteran and head of the bureau's field research and technical support branch, was charged over the misapporpriation of the funds.

The statement from the PMO said Mr Tan had been issued a formal letter of warning, and has accepted responsibility over the supervisory lapses that led to the misappropriation of at the agency while he was in charge. His predecessor, Mr Soh Kee Hean, who left the agency in 2010, was also warned as the crime had also happened during his watch.

Last month, Mr Tan had issued an unreserved apology over the lapse, and also said he would "accept responsibility" over the loss of public funds.

Mr Wong, a former deputy commissioner of Police, will join the CPIB as Direcor (designate) on Sept 1 and take over from Oct 1.

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Here is the full statement from the Prime Minister's office:

An Independent Review Panel (IRP) reported that supervisory lapses in CPIB had resulted in deficiencies in financial controls and the loss of public funds.

These in turn led to criminal charges against Mr Edwin Yeo, Assistant Director CPIB, which are currently before the Court. This statement does not touch on Mr Yeo's innocence or guilt in respect of these charges.

These supervisory lapses occurred during the terms of two Directors of CPIB:

Mr Soh Kee Hean (until Sep 2010) and the current Director Mr Eric Tan.

Both Directors had supervisory and command responsibilities over Mr Edwin Yeo and his unit in CPIB. Both Directors have been issued formal letters of warning for their lapses, and have accepted responsibility for them.

To maintain public trust and confidence in CPIB and to fully implement the Review Panel's recommendations, the Prime Minister has decided that Mr Wong Hong Kuan, currently the Chief Executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, will succeed Mr Eric Tan as Director CPIB when Mr Tan's term ends on 30 September 2013.

The President has concurred with the appointment of Mr Wong Hong Kuan, acting in his discretion under Article 22(1) of the Constitution. Mr Wong Hong Kuan will be posted to CPIB with effect from 1 September 2013 as Director Designate. Mr Eric Tan will work with Mr Wong Hong Kuan in the Bureau to ensure a smooth and seamless handover.

Despite this supervisory lapse, Mr Eric Tan has made many contributions to CPIB, strengthening the organisation and handling major corruption cases. He will be redeployed to other duties where his knowledge and experience will be valuable.

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