Singapore govt to again review F1 race contract terms relating to minister’s corruption charges

NewsDrum Desk
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Singapore, Feb 5 (PTI) The Singapore government on Monday said it will again review the terms of the annually held Formula 1 race, which came under scrutiny after the arrest of former Indian-origin transport minister Subramaniam Iswaran on corruption charges.

The government also said it has asked the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to conduct an audit of the 2022 Grand Prix.

Minister-in-charge for Trade Relations Grace Fu informed about the decision in Parliament on Monday. Though Fu did not give more details in the house, she added, "Members will understand that I cannot say more on this at this point." Members of Parliament had filed several parliamentary questions on the F1 race after the former Indian-origin transport minister was arrested on corruption charges.

The case against the former minister, who was also the Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, is ongoing. Iswaran, in his early sixties, faces 27 charges: Two of corruption, one of obstructing justice and 24 of obtaining valuables as a public servant.

Fu also evaded her reply by saying she cannot deal with questions that relate to matters which may have to be dealt with during Iswaran's trial.

Replying to Leader of the Opposition and Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh's question on which agency is reviewing the F1 deal, Fu said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is leading the review and may involve other agencies.

"It is not appropriate for us to speculate or prejudge the outcome of the proceedings. I will answer in so far as it is possible to do so," Channel News Asia quoted Fu as saying.

Associate Professor Jamus Lim, from the opposition Workers’ Party, also asked about the government's contracts with Ong Beng Seng's companies, while some MPs asked if there had been any non-compliance with processes. Billionaire Ong leads the F1 race in Singapore.

Fu said the STB had in 2007 signed a contract with the Singapore GP to organise the F1 night race in Singapore. The tourism board renewed this contract three times – in 2012, 2017 and 2022. The contract is currently in its fourth term, which will end in 2028.

The MTI said on January 18 that the terms of all the agreements were considered carefully by the government and there was "nothing to suggest as of now that either the F1 contracts or other contracts were structured to the disadvantage of the government".

Fu added, "Whilst we will review any government contracts to safeguard Singapore's interest, we remain committed to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix. Preparations for the 2024 race have started." PTI GS GSP AKJ AMS AMS