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Parliamentary Replies

Government Contracts Cancelled Due To Unethical Conduct

10 Jul 2012

Date: 10 July 2012

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance:

(a) in the last ten years, how many Government and statutory board contracts were linked to corruption charges or unethical conduct of its officers;

(b) of these cases, how many had entailed the cancellation or withdrawal of the tender award and what were the reasons for the rest of the contracts being allowed to continue;

(c) what is the Ministry's procurement policy with respect to reviewing the award of such contracts when it is found that the awarded party or a Government official involved in the evaluation and award of tender has been involved in corruption and unethical behaviour; and

(d) under what circumstances will such vendors be blacklisted from participating in Government tenders.

Reply by DPM and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

1. The Government takes a strong stand against corruption.  Corruption offences are investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).  Decisive action will be taken against any individual found to be corrupt. Public officers convicted of corruption will face both penalties under the law and staff disciplinary action.

2. Individuals and the companies they represent will also face penalties if it is determined in Court that they are involved in such corruption. Individuals convicted of corruption will be debarred from being awarded new government tenders for a period of time. The debarment is also extended to companies or businesses on which these individuals serve as directors, partners or sole proprietors.

3. Between 2004 and now, there have been 8 debarment cases on grounds of corruption involving public officers and government contracts. In these cases, the individuals involved, including the public officers, were convicted and the companies or businesses involved were debarred for a period of 5 years.

4. In addition to debarment which affects the contractor’s eligibility for award of new contracts, if the contractor is found to have offered bribes in relation to an existing contract the government agency can terminate the contract as provided for under the Government’s standard conditions of contract. Where contracts have yet to be awarded, government agencies will not consider debarred contractors for award of new contracts.

5. As for public officers who are alleged to be involved in corruption cases, they can be suspended from all duties once investigations commence. If such officers are involved in the evaluation or approval process, government agencies may suspend further action on a tender or decide on a no-award and re-call the tender.