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Govt cannot comment on investigations by CPIB but Keppel's board will be held to account: Indranee

THE Government does not comment on investigations by agencies such as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), to avoid "jeopardising" their investigative work, Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah told Parliament on Monday.

She was responding to a question from Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan, who asked the Law Ministry whether the CPIB would "conduct a thorough investigation" into the business affairs of Keppel Offshore & Marine to ascertain if the company had also used bribes to secure contracts elsewhere in the world, outside of Brazil.

Several former key executives of Keppel Corp and its offshore and marine units have been arrested in connection with the Singapore authorities' investigation into the Keppel O&M corruption scandal, The Straits Times reported earlier this month.

This, after the company had reached a US$422 million global settlement with the United States, Brazil and Singapore.

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Ms Indranee explained: "The Government does not as a general rule comment on the existence or non-existence of investigations by our investigative agencies, including CPIB.

"This is to ensure that the investigative work of these agencies are not jeopardised, and that affected individuals or entities are not prejudiced if, at the end of investigations, no offence is disclosed.

"If there is good reason to do so, or a basis for investigation, the authorities will investigate."

She added that the board of Keppel Corp remain accountable to its shareholders: "The boards and management of Keppel Corp and its subsidiaries, including Keppel O&M, are responsible for the proper conduct of their businesses.

"This would include detecting, reporting and preventing corrupt behaviour. Under the US Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Keppel O&M is also under a legal obligation to implement rigorous compliance and internal controls to prevent and detect corrupt practices."

Mr Indranee also noted that Keppel's current management has asserted zero tolerance for corruption[THEMSELVES][THEY].

"Keppel Corp's shareholders, including Temasek Holdings, expect these statements to be fully observed, and will hold them to account should they fail to do so[/THEY][/THEMSELVES]," Ms Indranee said.