“There is no more thorough, persistent, and I dare say even fearsome investigative body in Singapore,” said Mr Teo.
“That the Prime Minister did not hesitate to call the CPIB in to investigate two senior ministers is a signal seriously how we take such matters of incorruptibility, and its absolute value in our system.”
VALUER DID NOT KNOW THE IDENTITY OF THE TENANT AT 26 RIDOUT ROAD
Mr Teo said again on Monday that both ministers, as well as the public officers and private sector intermediaries were involved, had conducted themselves properly in the rental transactions and that there was no abuse of power or conflict of interest resulting in the ministers gaining any unfair advantage or privileges.
The process of renting out the two properties did not deviate from the prevailing SLA guidelines and approaches in renting out black-and-white bungalows for residential purposes, he added.
In particular, the guide rents were not revealed to Mr Shanmugam and his agent nor to Dr and Mrs Balakrishnan, Mr Teo noted.
The rental guide is the “reserve rental based on market rates as determined by qualified valuers”, the SLA told CNA previously.
The SLA valuer who reviewed the guide rent of 26 Ridout Road after the plot was enlarged did not know the identity of the prospective tenant, and only learned that the tenant was Mr Shanmugam after the matter was reported in the media, said Mr Teo on Monday .
They also did not know about the rental amount that SLA’s leasing division had negotiated with the tenant, he added.
The Senior Minister noted that Mr Shanmugam initially offered a rental of S$25,000 (US$18,480) a month, based on his property agent’s advice.
Mr. Shanmugam also instructed the agent that he should not pay less than his neighbours.
A neighboring unit was rented at S$26,000. SLA proposed a rental of S$26,500, and Mr Shanmugam agreed to thissaid Mr Teo.
“This episode demonstrates the paramount importance of maintaining high standards of integrity and accountability in the government and nationally,” said the Senior Minister.