Iswaran charged: A look at some past corruption cases involving high-ranking government

SINGAPORE: The charging of former Transport Minister S Iswaran with 27 offences mostly related to bribery and corruption is not the first time such allegations have been levelled at high-ranking government officials here.

In a reflection of Singapore’s longstanding zero-tolerance stance towards corruption, at least two other former ministers in Singapore’s history have been investigated and dealt with according to the law.

In a speech he made in Parliament in August last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that all these past cases were handled by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was then Prime Minister, “thoroughly, transparently, and applying the full force of the law”. 

On Wednesday (Jan 17), Mr Lee accepted Iswaran’s resignation as a Cabinet minister, Member of Parliament (MP) and from the ruling People’s Action Party.

TODAY takes a closer look at some other corruption cases involving former ministers:


In August 1966, Tan, a former Minister for National Development, was investigated for attempting to help his close businessman friend Lim Tjin Hauw and his son William Lim clinch the sale of a Boeing aircraft to Malaysian Airways.

Tan, who was part of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s first cabinet, also acted as an intermediary for his brother-in-law in the sale of a tin mine to Lim.

In return, he was given 70,000 shares worth S$1 (US$0.74) each.

Tan was charged and convicted over the Boeing episode, the current Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said in a 2009 speech.

Archived Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) records state: “As the witnesses did not want to implicate him then, Tan was administratively stripped of all his public appointments by the Government.”

At the time of charging, Tan was no longer a minister, as he had lost his seat in the 1963 general election.

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