Singapore Minister Resigns Amidst 27 Corruption Cases: Private Jet Travels and Overseas Football Matches By Businessman’s Money

Minister of Indian origin in Singapore, Ishwaran, resigned on Thursday amidst serious corruption allegations. A total of 27 corruption cases have been registered against him. According to a New York Times report, Ishwaran is accused of accepting a bribe from a prominent Singaporean businessman in exchange for assistance. Notably, Ishwaran used his private jet for travel, including to watch a football match in Britain.

Ishwaran adamantly denied the allegations, expressing his innocence in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday. Despite the controversy, he announced his decision to return his salary from the previous year. It’s noteworthy that Ishwaran was sent on leave by the Prime Minister after his arrest last year but continued to receive his salary.

Businessman’s Substantial Spending on Ishwaran Raises Eyebrows

The corruption charges against Ishwaran are expected to cast a shadow on the reputation of his People’s Action Party (PAP) and Singapore’s corruption-free image. Ong Bang Seng, a Singaporean real estate businessman, is implicated in all the charges against Ishwaran. Seng allegedly spent 1.6 million Singapore dollars (97 lakh rupees) on Ishwaran in exchange for various favors, including attending music shows, football matches, and staying in luxurious hotels.

Ishwaran, known for his role in developing Singapore’s tourism industry during the debut of the Formula One Grand Prix, was arrested along with Ong Bang last year.

Singaporean MPs’ High Salaries and Corruption-Free Reputation at Stake

Singapore’s Members of Parliament (MPs) are reportedly among the highest-paid in the world, with ministers starting at a salary of 45 thousand Singapore dollars. The country’s politicians defend these high wages, arguing that it helps combat corruption. The last time a Singaporean minister faced investigation in a corruption case was in 1986 when National Development Minister Teh Chiang Wan was investigated for accepting bribes. Tragically, he committed suicide before charges could be framed.

Potential Impact on Elections as Ishwaran Faces Corruption Case

General elections are scheduled in Singapore for 2025, and Ishwaran’s party may face consequences due to the corruption scandal. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was expected to step down as the party leader before the election, with plans to introduce new and younger leaders. Ishwaran’s involvement in these changes is now in jeopardy, as it is challenging for him to hold a significant position within the party while the corruption case is ongoing.

Niyati Rao

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