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Indranee: Not Prosecuting Corrupt Keppel Executives Doesn’t Change Gov’s Zero-Tolerance Stance

There was insufficient evidence to establish their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and so the six former senior management staff members of Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) embroiled in a corruption scandal were not prosecuted.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Indranee said that the decision to issue the six with stern warnings has not changed Singapore’s zero-tolerance stance towards corruption.

Last month, the CPIB issued stern warnings to the six former senior management staff members for a US$55 million (S$73 million) bribery case involving Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

As part of a global resolution involving authorities in the US, Brazil and Singapore, KOM paid US$422 million in fines

Ms Indranee told the House that the public prosecutor, in deciding whether to charge the six individuals, had to “consider whether he has the necessary evidence to prove that those individuals were involved in certain conduct and possessed a certain mental state to establish the offences”.

However, the CPIB faced difficulty in collecting evidence, such as documents being located in different jurisdictions and inability to secure the cooperation of several potential key overseas witness.

CPIB also made two “fact-finding trips” to Brazil in 2019, while AGC and CPIB sent three mutual legal assistance requests to Brazil to secure relevant evidence, however these did not yield evidence.

“There is a lack of sufficient evidence, either documentary or through witnesses, which would establish any criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt against a specific individual.”

Ms Indranee said that if new and compelling facts subsequently come to light, it “remains open” for the public prosecutor to re-evaluate his decision to issue stern warnings.

As for why the six individuals were not named, Ms Indranee said that CPIB does not disclose the names of individuals unless they are charged in court and it is a policy that is not unique to Singapore.

She added that Issuing a stern warning is the “only device available to the AGC” given the circumstances.

“So you see, what are the choices? … Do nothing at all, bring charges when you know you don’t have sufficient evidence, or is there something in between? The stern warning device is the something in between.”

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