[Updated 12 March 2013 at 5pm to reflect Parliament 2013 update]
Investigations into NPark's purchase of 26 foldable Brompton bicycles have been completed.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in Parliament on Tuesday that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has completed investigations and that the case is now before the public prosecutor.
"The case is now before the public prosecutor for assessment and
determination of whether there is any offence disclosed," said DPM Teo in response to NMP Lina Chiam's request for an update on the status of CPIB's investigations.
He added that CPIB first investigated the case after an internal audit found "possible indications of corruption of procurement" and it's findings prompted the Attorney-General's Chambers to make further investigations.
In a blog post titled "Of Justice, Fairness and Due Process", Khaw said “When it is within my purview, I will do my best to get to the bottom of it. Wrong-doers will be exposed and appropriately punished.”
On 22 June, NParks approved the purchase of 26 foldable Brompton bicycles for a total of S$57,200 or S$2,200 each, sparking questions from some members of the public over the high price tag. A week later, Khaw called for an internal review “to dig impartially and more thoroughly into the transaction”.
Giving a detailed account of how the incident was dealt with in the Ministry of National Development (MND) during the past month, Khaw wrote in his blog that there had been “firm but measured action, balancing between the resolute pursuit of justice and the need for fairness and due process”.
He added that he shared Singaporeans’ “common objective to ensure that taxpayers’ money should be well spent”, based on the feedback he’d received from the public.
Khaw wrote that he wanted answers to two questions after he first read about the case in June – why there was a need for foldable bikes and how the supplier was chosen.
He had earlier posted another entry on 4 July to update the public on the matter, based on what NParks' internal inquiry and the ministry's audit team had ascertained.
Khaw wrote then, and again in his latest post, that the decision to buy foldable bikes was justified but noted that the procurement could have been better handled and NParks could have gotten a better deal.
He added that he had “no reason to question the integrity of the officer(s) involved” based on what he had read in the NParks report, but decided anyway to commission an internal audit team to work with NParks to verify if the procurement was conducted in a “fit and proper manner”.
The audit’s findings on 20 July confirmed that the NParks' reason for the purchase on staff productivity grounds was valid, and that the procurement formally observed and complied with the existing rules.
However, they also uncovered certain discrepancies which suggest a possibility of bias, Khaw said.
The matter is now in the hands of Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
“If there is wrong-doing, appropriate punishment will be meted out,” Khaw wrote.
While he’s aware that this episode may affect the morale of his NParks officers, Khaw stressed that “we should be fair and not demoralize and tarnish the reputation of NParks”.