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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Briefings

Eliminating the distinction between public and private sector corruption in Singapore

2 June 2015

Corruption in Singapore has been characterised by high-profile cases involving public officials. For example, in 2014, two former senior public officials were prosecuted for allegedly obtaining sexual gratification in exchange for favouring certain companies; in the same year, a university professor was prosecuted for obtaining sexual gratification and other gifts from a student in exchange for better grades. These cases have raised and clarified interesting issues in relation to Singapore’s anti-corruption laws.

Most recently, however, the Singapore High Court in Public Prosecutor v Syed Mostofa Romel [2015] SGHC 117 made clear that private sector bribery was equally abhorrent, tripling the jail term (from two to six months) of a marine surveyor convicted on corruption charges relating to the receipt of bribes to omit safety breaches in his reports.

This case is significant for the guidance it gives on sentencing of corruption charges. More importantly, it dispels the perceived distinction between corruption in the private and public sectors.

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