Former Transport Minister S. Iswaran has been granted permission to temporarily leave the country to assist his son with university enrolment in Australia.
This application comes after Iswaran’s legal declaration of innocence in response to 27 charges against him on 18 January. These charges include allegations of corruption, acceptance of bribes in his capacity as a public official, and attempts to obstruct justice.
On 8 February, Iswaran, who is out on S$800,000 bail, appeared at the State Courts at 2:30 pm to request judicial approval for his overseas travel. Recognizing the severity of the accusations and the need for strict monitoring, the court has imposed several conditions on Iswaran’s travel permission. Notably, he is required to post a S$500,000 cash bail.
Additionally, Iswaran must provide his travel details to the investigating officer and remain accessible for communication. He is also required to surrender his travel documents within a 24-hour period after returning to Singapore.
The case’s escalation to the High Court, as announced by the prosecution, highlights the significant public interest it has aroused, underscoring concerns over integrity and accountability in public service.
The charges against Iswaran include two counts of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 24 counts of receiving benefits from business associates, and a single charge of obstructing justice under the Penal Code.
The allegations suggest that Iswaran received about S$145,434 in gratification from billionaire Ong Beng Seng in September 2022, aimed at promoting Ong’s business interests in dealings with the Singapore Grand Prix and the Singapore Tourism Board.
The gratification includes high-value items and privileges, such as flights on private jets, luxury accommodations, and exclusive tickets to the 2022 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, amounting to approximately S$218,058.95 over several occasions.
The legal team defending Iswaran includes Senior Counsel Davinder Singh among others, while the prosecution is led by Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng.
Following these charges on 18 January, Iswaran resigned from his parliamentary position and the People’s Action Party (PAP).
Prior to these events, Iswaran had a longstanding career in politics, starting with his election in 1997 as part of the PAP team for West Coast GRC. Throughout the years, he has held multiple ministerial roles.
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