S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Transport Minister, has tendered his resignation following corruption charges, marking one of the most prominent cases involving a minister in the city-state in decades. The anti-corruption agency disclosed that Iswaran faces 27 charges in a graft investigation.

In a resignation letter dated Tuesday, published by the prime minister’s office, Iswaran vehemently denied the charges and expressed his commitment to clearing his name. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) revealed that Iswaran, arrested in July last year, is accused of receiving kickbacks totaling S$384,340.98 ($286,181) from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng, allegedly to advance Ong’s business interests.

Charge sheets outline various favors, including tickets to football matches, musicals, a flight on Ong’s private plane, and tickets to the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix. Iswaran, an advisor to the Grand Prix’s steering committee, shares a connection with Ong, who owns the rights to the race.

The charges against Iswaran encompass corruption and obstructing the course of justice, as stated by the CPIB. If convicted, he could face a fine of up to S$100,000 or seven years in prison.

There has been no immediate response from Ong’s office to emails seeking comment. Ong, also arrested in July as part of the corruption probe, has not been charged at this time.

The case has captivated Singapore, a major financial hub known for its clean government and infrequent instances of graft involving political leaders. The city-state’s civil servants receive substantial salaries as a deterrent to corruption, with many cabinet ministers earning over S$1 million annually.

Transparency International’s 2022 International Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Singapore as the fifth least corrupt country out of 180 nations.

Quest: Emmanuel kelvin

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