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Singapore adds charges against ex-minister in graft case
Published on: Monday, March 25, 2024
By: Bloomberg, FMT
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Singapore adds charges against ex-minister in graft case
Singapore’s former transport minister S Iswaran is the first minister in the country to get embroiled in a graft probe since 1986. (AFP pic)
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s prosecutor filed more corruption charges against former transport minister S Iswaran, the latest in the biggest political scandal to hit the the city-state in close to four decades.

Chief prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng read out eight charges related to graft to Iswaran on Monday. The 61-year-old pleaded not guilty. His defence team asked if there will be any more charges, to which Tan said it should be raised during High Court proceedings.

The corruption case will be heard April 2 at the High Court. The fresh charges include allegations Iswaran “obtained” several bottles of alcohol from an executive related to Lum Chang Building Contractors Pte over a contract for construction works on an existing MRT station.

The additional charges come as the city-state prepares for a meticulously planned political succession this year ahead of a general election that’s due to be held by November 2025. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said he will hand over power to his deputy Lawrence Wong before the vote.

Iswaran, who’s out on bail, has also been accused of allegedly obtaining tickets to musicals and soccer matches in the UK. He has maintained his innocence.

The ex-minister helped bring Formula 1 racing to Singapore and represented Singapore at the World Economic Forum. He resigned in January after being charged with corruption.

Iswaran is the first minister to get embroiled in a graft probe since 1986 when then-minister for national development Teh Cheang Wan was investigated for accepting bribes. Teh denied receiving the money and died before he could be formally charged.

Iswaran and property tycoon Ong Beng Seng were arrested in July 2023. Ong has not been charged and is out on bail.

Earlier this month, Singapore opposition leader Pritam Singh was charged with two counts for giving false answers to a parliament committee involving a former lawmaker who lied about a sexual assault case. Singh pleaded not guilty.

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