Rental of State Properties at Ridout Road by Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Statement from the Prime Minister's Office on the rental of State Properties at Ridout Road by Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on 28 June 2023.
Arising from questions raised by the public and allegations made against Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan regarding their rental of State Properties at Ridout Road, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong directed the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on 17 May 2023 to investigate the matter, as the CPIB reports directly to the Prime Minister and has the necessary powers to ascertain if there was any corruption or criminal wrongdoing.
Subsequently on 22 May 2023, PM Lee instructed Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean to conduct a separate review in order to address wider potential process or policy issues, which go beyond the scope of CPIB’s investigation.
Both CPIB and SM Teo have completed their reviews and submitted their reports to PM Lee.
SM Teo’s Report concludes that both the Ministers and the public officers, as well as private sector intermediaries involved, conducted themselves properly in the two rental transactions. There was no abuse of power or conflict of interest resulting in the Ministers gaining any unfair advantage or privileges. Furthermore, the process of renting out the two properties did not deviate from the prevailing SLA guidelines and approaches in renting out Black and White bungalows for residential purposes.
The CPIB Report found no evidence of corruption or criminal wrongdoing by Ministers Shanmugam and Balakrishnan. CPIB found no preferential treatment given to the Ministers and their spouses, and no disclosure of privileged information in the process of the rental transactions. There was no evidence to suggest any abuse of position by the Ministers for personal gain.
However, CPIB discovered that there was a lack of precision in SLA’s use of the term “Guide Rent” with respect to No. 26 Ridout Road State property. As a result, the earlier SLA statement dated 12 May 2023 that the offer by Minister Shanmugam was above the Guide Rent was incorrect. In fact, the rental Minister Shanmugam paid was equal to the correct Guide Rent on the property. CPIB confirmed that this issue did not result from any ill intent on the part of any SLA officers involved. It found no evidence of any mala fide abuse of position in the valuation.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (“AGC”) has agreed with CPIB’s findings and recommendations. AGC has directed that no further action to be taken as the facts do not disclose any offence.
The Prime Minister accepts the two reports and has ordered that the two reports be published and tabled in Parliament as a Miscellaneous Paper (pdf, 2,155.56KB).
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PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
28 JUNE 2023
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