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Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB

Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB probe

SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB probe

Posted: 25 January 2012 0747 hrs

suspended amid CPIB probe Posted: 25 January 2012 0747 hrs Mr Peter Lim (Photo: TODAY) Mr

Mr Peter Lim (Photo: TODAY)

Posted: 25 January 2012 0747 hrs Mr Peter Lim (Photo: TODAY) Mr Ng Boon Gay (photo:

Mr Ng Boon Gay (photo: SPF)

SINGAPORE: In the most high profile corruption investigation involving civil servants in recent times, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Lim and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay have been suspended following allegations of "serious personal misconduct".

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement on Tuesday that the two civil servants are currently assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in its investigations. MHA added that it could not comment on the details of the case, as investigations are ongoing.

However, the ministry moved swiftly on Tuesday to name a new SCDF commissioner and new CNB director. Both the new appointees take command from Feb 1.

Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB

Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB probe

Detailing the affair, MHA said that in the case of Mr Ng, investigations began at the end of December and in the case of Mr Lim, early this month. Both men were placed on leave from their duties when the investigations started and their duties have been covered by their respective deputies.

"Taking into account the current status of the investigations, both will be interdicted from their duties with effect from 25 January 2012, pending disciplinary proceedings," said the ministry statement.

The statement follows a report in Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao on Tuesday quoting unnamed sources, who alleged that the case was "linked to money and women".

When TODAY asked MHA why it waited before making the investigations public and suspending the two men, MHA said that "investigations were at different stages" and it was "only fair that we gather evidence and allow for due process". MHA added that "the investigations will establish the facts, and the officers will be accorded due process and a fair hearing in accordance with the civil service disciplinary process and the law".

Mr Lim started his career at the SCDF in 1987 as a fire safety engineer. He was appointed commissioner in 2009. Mr Ng joined the police force in 1991 after being awarded a Local Merit Scholarship. He was appointed CNB director in 2008.

Asked why MHA felt the need to name replacements so swiftly, a ministry spokesman said:

"Leadership has to be there for the two organisations because these are two crucial departments and the appointments are there to ensure continuity and so that there is no void in leadership."

When asked what would happen if the men were found to be innocent, MHA said that "arrangements can be made later on".

Mr Eric Yap Wee Teck, 43, who is currently the senior director of emergency services at the SCDF, will be appointed commissioner of SCDF from Feb 1. On the same day, Mr Ng Ser Song, 49, who holds the rank of senior assistant commissioner of police and is currently director of Police Intelligence Department, will take over as director of CNB.

Weighing in on the investigation, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said in a statement on Tuesday: "All public officers, regardless of their position or seniority, are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and conduct. The Government takes a serious view of public officers who misconduct themselves. Any allegations of misconduct made against public officers will be investigated fully and thoroughly."

Mr Teo, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, added: "If officers are found to have abused the trust placed in them, we will not hesitate to take firm and decisive action against them.

"I would like to re-affirm my confidence in our SCDF and CNB officers, who are honourable

Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB

Publication: Channel NewsAsia Date: 25 January 2012 Headline: SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB probe

professionals risking their lives on a daily basis to keep our citizens safe and secure."

This latest CPIB investigation comes on the back of several recent high profile corruption cases involving civil servants.

In November, Koh Seah Wee, a former deputy director of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), and Christopher Lim Chai Meng, a manager in his department, were jailed for 22 years and 15 years, respectively, for cheating the SLA and other government agencies of more than S$12 million.

Early this month, Liew Chee Meng, an assistant executive from the MHA, was jailed eight years and eight months for cheating the ministry of S$617,087.

Commenting on the recent spate of fraud and corruption cases in the public sector, corporate governance expert Mak Yuen Teen, an associate professor of accounting at the National University of Singapore Business School, said: "We need to take a long-hard look at ourselves - why is this happening, was there not enough due diligence when appointing people - as this could affect our image.

"Internationally, we've always ranked top three or four in the corruption perception index - I worry that this has made us complacent," he added.

Singapore Management University law lecturer Eugene Tan pointed out that corruption cases are "almost inevitable since they involve human frailties".

"What is more important is the political will for zero tolerance and the determination to enforce tough anti-corruption laws. The determination to prosecute without fear or favour does enhance Singapore's reputation for clean governance," he added.

- TODAY