Previously an Overseas Problem, Fraud Comes Ashore in Singapore


Shadows of High-Profile Cases Loom Large as Fraud Fighters Prepare to Meet


AUSTIN, Texas, U.S. (31 October 2013)  Two years after the world’s largest anti-fraud association held its Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference in Singapore for the first time, anti-fraud professionals are preparing to gather again in a country commonly considered a model for keeping fraud and corruption in check. 


While it still ranks high in that regard (Singapore is listed the fifth least-corrupt nation in Transparency International’s latest “Global Corruption Perceptions Index”), several high-profile fraud cases loom in the background of this year’s conference. Some of these cases will likely be among the topics of discussion when more than 200 anti-fraud professionals from around the Asia-Pacific region gather at Marina Bay Sands, 20-22 November. For example: 


In November 2011, Koh Seah Wee was sentenced to 22 years in jail and Lim Chai Meng to 15 years for their roles in cheating Singapore government agencies of SGD $12.5 million (US $10 million) in the city’s biggest public-sector fraud since 1995 (source: Bloomberg).  


In January 2012, the head of the Central Narcotics Bureau, Peter Lim Sin Peng, and the director of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Ng Boon Gay, were dismissed for alleged corruption (source: Myanmar Times).  


This summer, scandal rocked the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) as its former assistant director, Edwin Yeo, was accused of a four-year, SGD $1.7 million (US $1.37 million) fraud. The ongoing crisis led to the exit of CPIB director Eric Tan in September, replaced by new director Wong Hong Kuan. 


According to the ACFE’s 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, companies worldwide lose an estimated 5 percent of revenues to fraud – with the typical fraud case in Asia resulting in a median loss of nearly US $200,000. The statistics show corruption to be the most common fraud scheme in Asia, present in more than half of fraud cases.  


As reported by CNBC, a recent Ernst & Young survey shows that “Singaporean corporations are more naive in their approach to anti-fraud and corruption practices in comparison to the Asia-Pacific average.”  


Anti-fraud professionals in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide are working hard to protect businesses and investments by preventing and detecting fraud. Those who attend the conference will hear from keynote speakers including veteran fraud fighter John Geurts, a former Australian Federal Police officer and current executive general manager, Group Security & Group Property, for Commonwealth Bank Australia. He will be joined by Nagesh Pinge, chief internal auditor for Tata Motors Limited; Jeffrey Robinson, UK author, lecturer and journalist; and Bruce Dorris, vice president and program director for the ACFE. 


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