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Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau: Four suggestions for enhancing its effectiveness

Jon S. T. Quah (Anti-Corruption Consultant, Singapore)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to make recommendations to address the four limitations of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).


The paper begins by attributing Singapore’s reputation as the least corrupt Asian country to the CPIB’s four strengths: its independence from the police; its adequate staffing and funding; its adoption of the total approach to enforcement; and its impartial enforcement of the anti-corruption laws. It then proceeds to identify the CPIB’s limitations and provides four suggestions to address these limitations.


The sentencing of Edwin Yeo, a senior CPIB officer, to ten years’ imprisonment on 20 February 2014 for misappropriating US$1.76 million for nearly four years reveals that there were weaknesses in the CPIB’s internal controls and procurement procedures in spite of its effectiveness in curbing corruption. This paper recommends that the CPIB addresses its four limitations by strengthening its internal controls and procurement procedures; enhancing public trust and confidence by further improving its outreach to the population; improving the external oversight of its activities; and developing its in-house research capabilities.


This paper will be useful for those scholars, policy-makers, and anti-corruption practitioners who are interested in how the CPIB can further enhance its effectiveness even though Singapore is perceived as the least corrupt Asian country.



Quah, J.S.T. (2015), "Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau: Four suggestions for enhancing its effectiveness", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 76-100.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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