Screenshot of Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament

Multiple ministries again are reported to have cost Singaporeans undisclosed millions for the 2nd straight year, after the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) published it’s latest report on “lapses”.

According to the AGO report yesterday (July 18), an undisclosed amount of financial “lapses” like undocumented payments or inaccurately-documented payments were found in several government agencies including the Singapore Sports Council, SCORE and the Economic Development Board. AGO wrote:

“These lapses include late payments, payments not certified by authorised officers, contracts not signed by authorised signatories, poor management of assets and grants disbursements made based on inaccurate or incomplete information.”

The next government ministry singled out on possible financial crimes is Ministry of Health, where there have been several payment irregularities. The newest hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, was singled out for having possible corruption:

“These include the lack of assessment of the need for and cost reasonableness of expenditure before payments were made to an agent, not ensuring that the agent adhered to the approving limits set by MOH for variations, and such works carried out before proper approvals were obtained… For the development of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, AGO observed that MOH incurred expenditure of S$4.08 million for site supervisory staff engaged by its agent without verifying the need for and reasonableness of the expenditure.”

No police report has been made and there is no explanation why the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau is not involved to conduct further investigations on the “lapses”. None of the Ministers whose ministries were affected, like Health Minister Gan Kim Yong or Minister in-charge of Sports Grace Fu, commented on the AGO report.

Just a year ago in 2016, the AGO also published a damning report criticising the PAP government on splurging taxpayers’ money and demanded that some government agencies make police reports. One such example is the propaganda ministry, Ministry of Communications and Information, where a police report was made but there was a news blackout or no follow up after that.  Several government agencies covered up for their “lapses” by not reporting to the police.

Cronyism is a common practice in “corruption-free” Singapore, with PAP grassroots leaders often snuggling up to the ruling party to win government tenders.