26 July 2013. The man charged with the enforcement of law and maintenance of the integrity of the Singapore system, had misappropriated more than S$1.7 million between 2008 and September last year.
Mr. Edwin Yeo Seow Hiong was an assistant director of Field Research and Technical Support (FRTS) Branch of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). He was charged with 21 counts of criminal breach of trust.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement:
“We take a very serious view of this case, especially because the officer was from an agency whose mission is to uphold the integrity of our system.”
PMO statement said that the CPIB uncovered the wrongdoing in September last year and referred the matter to Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force, which carried out the investigation.
Yeo was said to have gambled away S$ 241,000 at Marina Bay Sands Casino. A sum of S$67,000 has been recovered by the authorities from him.
Yeo told the judge that he had no intention of engaging a counsel and requested 8 to 10 weeks to prepare his mitigation plea and to settle family problems. He is currently out on bail. He was able to raise the bond of S$ 500,000 set by the court.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) records showed that Yeo owned two companies. He owned Tara Enterprise; a company involved in general wholesale trade and the manufacture of rattan and cane furniture. He was made the owner on 20 Nov 2006 but he withdrew from the position on 21 Sept 2012, a week after his alleged offences were first discovered. He also owned another company, CF Enterprise, which was registered on 17 Nov 2011 but has since closed down. The registered address of both companies was listed as having the same address at an office unit in Peninsula Plaza. The employees of the company in the office unit said that they had not heard of Yeo and that they had occupied the unit for over a decade.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the minister-in-charge of the civil service, revealed in a statement: “Public institutions and public offices are held to the highest standards of integrity and conduct. What this means is that we need strong enforcement when there’s wrongdoing, we need to correct weaknesses whenever we find them. But most important of all, the foundation is good values.”
Earlier this year, CAD and CPIB had conducted a study of public officers investigated by the two agencies over the past five years and found that the cases involving public officers remained low and remained quite stable over the five year period.
Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to an exhibition at the Supreme Court, also gave assurance that Civil Service will be watched closely to prevent such offences.
This is the third time in nine days that a senior law enforcer has been charged. Last Monday, Police Senior Staff Sergeant Iskandar Rahmat, 34, was charged with the murders of two men. He was in financial difficulties but was not known to be a gambler. Last Friday, Lim Kwo Yin, 36, a Deputy Superintendent, was fined S$10,000 for negligence that led to the death of a Changi Prison inmate.