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Singapore needs stronger anti-bribery laws

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There have been a tremendous amount of calls for overhauls to the anti-bribery and anti-graft laws in Singapore in the wake of the largest corruption scandal to hit this country.

The cracker organization – a subsidiary of the government linked Keppel Corp conglomeration – is being seen as only slapped on the wrist with a token fine by the government of Singapore while being much more harshly punished by criminal authorities in the United States and Brazil that also pressing charges against the cracker organization.

And while no one is under any illusions that the penalties and fines are so light because of any favoritism being shown by the government of Singapore – the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) has a maximum fine of $100,000 per charge – many are clamoring for sweeping changes that overhaul and dramatically increase these penalties.

According to international reports, the cracker organization was fined $422 million more by the United States then by the government tells Singapore – something that absolutely has to change moving forward if Singapore is going to effectively combat bribery and graft moving forward. This is especially important as Singapore really strives to establish itself as a major center for global finance and commerce in the years to come.

When the Prevention of Corruption Act was first signed into law $100,000 was a considerable amount of money. Today, however, bribes can reach millions of dollars – and result in billions of dollars being shifted around – and $100,000 as a penalty is nothing more than a drop in the bucket and nowhere near a serious enough deterrent to stop corruption dead in its tracks.

Organizations throughout the government, as well as citizen run organizations, are hoping that the scope of the law is going to be expanded dramatically so that individuals in the corporate echelon – as well as those working “lower down the ladder” are held more accountable for their actions.

Things like a dramatic expansion of criminal liability for all board members and senior management are being suggested and have a lot of support, and many believe that the Ministry of State for Law is going to enact even more severe punishments in line with this one moving forward if given the opportunity to do so.

The anticorruption laws and legislation were originally enacted back in 1960 and overhauled to the $100,000 per charge penalty in 1989. Back then, these penalties helped to keep bribery and graft in check because of how significant and severe they were – but that just isn’t the case any longer.

Sweeping changes have already been proposed and are being debated hotly throughout all levels of the Singapore government, and Singapore citizens have been getting in on the action and making their own voices heard through a number of different citizen run campaigns to add significant teeth to the PCA.

If history is any indication, Singapore will likely “bring down the hammer” when it comes to beefing up these anti-bribery and anticorruption rules, regulations, and laws – giving their people, the financial community, and the global community in general more confidence that Singapore businesses are run on the up and up and that there isn’t anything shady happening behind the scenes.

About the Author
Morris Edwards is a content writer at CompanyRegistrationinSingapore.com.sg, he writes different topics like 11 things you need to know about Taxation in Singapore and all topics related toBusiness and Tech, if you are interested setting up company in Singapore visit our website for more information.

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