SINGAPORE: The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, 2022 edition, is currently under audit by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) due to corruption allegations against former transport minister S. Iswaran.
Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Grace Fu, told the House on Monday (5 February) that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is also scrutinizing the agreement between STB and Singapore GP to ensure Singapore’s interests are protected.
In response to queries from MPs regarding the F1 contracts and the relationship between Iswaran and Ong Beng Seng, the property tycoon chairing Singapore GP, Grace Fu addressed concerns about potential lapses in due diligence and reporting processes.
The F1 contract, initially established in 2007 and subsequently renewed in 2012, 2017, and 2022, is set to conclude in 2028.
Ms Fu emphasized that the government had previously assessed the terms of agreements with independent consultancy studies, finding no indications of disadvantageous structuring.
However, in light of corruption allegations, a renewed review of the deal’s terms is underway.
“We are reviewing the terms of the deal again. We have also asked SDB to conduct an audit of the most recent race held in 2022 of which accounts are ready for audit.”
Ms Fu highlighted the importance of safeguarding Singapore’s interests while expressing continued commitment to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, with preparations for the 2024 race already underway.
Ms Fu, who assumed the role of Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations in January following Iswaran’s resignation, acknowledged that some questions raised by MPs may be addressed during Iswaran’s trial.
The latter was charged in January with corruption and other offences six months after being arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
Yip Hon Weng, PAP MP for Yio Chu Kang SMC, inquired about the collaboration between economic agencies and private entities to maintain Singapore’s reputation for integrity in the global business community.
In response, Minister Fu assured that economic agencies adhere to the Public Service Conduct Code, including guidelines on interactions with private entities and accepting gifts.
“These include interactions with private entities, such as rules on accepting gifts and hospitality.”
Addressing Pritam Singh’s question on the F1 contract review, Minister Fu confirmed MTI’s lead role and the potential involvement of other agencies.
Responding to Workers’ Party MP Associate Professor Jamus Lim’s query about reviewing other contracts with Ong’s companies beyond the F1 race, Ms Fu stated that she was not aware of similar contracts.
She reiterated the commitment to scrutinizing government contracts to safeguard Singapore’s interests.
Additionally, she expressed continued dedication to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, with preparations already in progress for the 2024 race.
In a supplementary question, Yip asked about the ministry’s assessment of the case’s impact on investor confidence.
In response, Minister Fu said MTI have not detected any reservations or any impact, “we will keep a very close eye and will respond quickly expeditiously and robustly if need be.”
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