- - the chairman approved awards of two contracts (totalling $32,000) to a company of which he was a member of the senior management;
- - the chairman approved his own claims (totalling $114,767) in 7 instances.
After all the hue and cry about related party transactions associated with a certain town council, Minister Khaw Boon Wah is saying that no dishonesty is involved, so let it rest, people. ("I am glad the investigation panel found no evidence of dishonesty. Nonetheless, it was a related-party transaction that was not declared.")
This was expected, coming from one who was equally honest about his $8 open heart operation. The jaundiced People's Association (PA) came up with a sneakier defence - that there was no irregularity in the payments as the amounts paid tallied with the quotations and the work rendered. Payment for what, payment to who, payment approved by whom, it all don't matter. So will it come down to this: votes can be bought so long as the amount disbursed tallies with the amount received.
The lapse in governance is not an isolated instance in PA, the rot has spread to the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP). The observation on ITE's short comings sound all too familiar: "ITE could also be perceived as favouring certain operators."
Interestingly, only the National Library Board (NLB) will be investigated by the police for "possible wrongdoings" involving $7.3 million spent for e-resources "based on weak justifications." Perhaps it has something to do with the particular minister involved. So what else is new in corruption and cronyism free Singapore?