Iswaran allowed to extend Australia trip due to illness, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Iswaran allowed to extend Australia trip due to illness

Former transport minister S. Iswaran, who is facing corruption charges, has been granted permission to extend his trip to Australia by 16 days as he had fallen ill while abroad.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said in a statement on March 4 that the defence had filed an application to extend Iswaran’s trip in an urgent mention at the State Courts on the same day.

Iswaran is in Australia to settle his son in at university. The trip, which was slated to be from Feb 16 to March 4, has now been extended to March 19.

The AGC spokesman said the prosecution did not object to the latest application, and has set out enhanced bail conditions that Iswaran has to abide by.

He is required to report to the investigation officer (IO) daily via video call, to update on his medical condition and on whether there are any issues concerning his return to Singapore on March 19.

Iswaran, who faces 27 charges and is out on $800,000 bail, is also required to surrender his passport to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau by March 20.

The former minister had been granted permission on Feb 8 to travel out of Singapore to Australia, with the prosecution imposing several conditions, including an additional cash bail of $500,000.

He had to also provide the IO with his itinerary and his address overseas, and remain contactable by the IO.

Iswaran’s bailor, identified in court as Mr Ng, had agreed to those conditions before the judge.

Iswaran’s case will be transferred to the High Court when he returns, due to the strong public interest in this case.

He is accused of 24 counts of obtaining, as a minister, items with a total value of more than $200,000 from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng. Mr Ong is the man who brought Formula One to Singapore in 2008.

These items include tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix (GP), football matches in Britain and musicals.

Several of the charges are related to alleged incidents that happened between 2015 and 2021, and involved him purportedly obtaining tickets to a football match between West Ham United and Everton, and shows such as Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

He also faces a charge of obstructing the course of justice on or about May 25, 2023.

According to court documents, he had allegedly made repayment of $5,700 – the cost of his business class flight ticket from Doha to Singapore that he purportedly took on Dec 11, 2022, at Mr Ong’s expense – through Singapore GP.

Following his court appearance on Jan 18, 2024, Iswaran issued a statement stating his innocence and said he will focus on clearing his name.