National Library Board (NLB), under the charge of Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), is currently under police investigations for severe lapses over purchases amounting to S$7.3 million.

MCI made the police report only after the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) made a recommendation. NLB has apparently spent S$7.3 million in purchases of its e-resources collection directly from specific vendors without any evidence of having considered other e-resources of similar nature.

 

Photo of National Library by Idlethink
Photo of National Library by Idlethink

NLB defends itself claiming the vendors they engaged were sole distributors, but have no evidence to back up their claims. In the AGO’s report:

“By procuring the e-resources without going through a proper process of sourcing, selection, evaluation and justification, NLB may not have availed itself of the best offer from the market and may be subject to allegations of bias, unfair and inappropriate procurement practices.

…found indications that the control weaknesses could have been “exploited and there were possible wrongdoings in relation to procurement of certain e-resources”

The Ministry of Communications and Information is the only Ministry that reports these lapses to the Singapore Police. Other Ministries with other similar lapses in their respective projects did not report to the Singapore Police:

1) Ministry of National Development with the NParks and Garden By the Bay

2) Ministry of Education with the ITE and SP

3) Ministry of Trade and Industry with Jurong Town Council and the International Cruise Centre

4) and lastly, the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Population and Talent Division