OPINION: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong next week will face questions tabled by the opposition Workers’ Party relating to the six Keppel Offshore & Marine ex-senior managers who were implicated in Brazil’s Operation Car Wash corruption scandal but have not been named nor charged.

The six were allegedly involved in using an intermediary to pay US$55 million in bribes to secure rig-building contracts from Petrobras, but Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) handed down a “stern warning” in lieu of prosecution to the ex-senior managers involved and did not name them.

While one could argue that the issue is being raised by the opposition party just to score political points, ‘Singapore Inc’ prides itself on having zero tolerance towards corruption.

Singapore ranked equal fifth in the 2022 global Corruption Perceptions Index, unveiled on Tuesday by Transparency International, the worldwide coalition against corruption.

However, the coalition earlier noted that in Singapore, “anti-corruption is tied to the political will of the elite and can be easily reversed”.

Many within the oil industry and Singapore’s business community know — or could make an educated guess — as to the identities of the six former Keppel O&M managers implicated.

One reason why the matter is attracting so much interest is because less than a week before the CPIB let off the six with a “stern warning”, two other ex-Keppel Fels managers found themselves named and charged with alleged historic graft offences involving relatively minor sums.

It will be interesting to see whether Lee does indeed divulge any details about the case, in particular the names of the six, on 6 February in parliament.

Watch this space…

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)

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