Iswaran faces 8 new charges for obtaining $19k in items including Brompton bike, golf clubs, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Iswaran faces 8 new charges for obtaining $19k in items including Brompton bike, golf clubs

Former transport minister S. Iswaran was handed eight new charges in court on March 25.

These are under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which makes it an offence for public servants to accept gifts from someone involved with them in an official capacity.

When asked by District Judge Brenda Tan, Iswaran – who now faces 35 charges in total – said he pleads not guilty to the additional charges.

On March 25, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a statement that Iswaran had allegedly obtained, as a public servant, valuables with a total value of about $18,956.94 from a Lum Kok Seng.

Iswaran had allegedly known him to be involved in business that had a connection with his official function as Minister for Transport.

These alleged offences were committed between November 2021 and November 2022.

According to charge sheets, the items include bottles of whisky, golf clubs and a Brompton bicycle that cost $7,907.50.

The business transacted involved a contract between Lum Chang Building Contractors and the Land Transport Authority for addition and alteration works to Tanah Merah MRT station and existing viaducts.

The website of Lum Chang, a property management, interior design and construction firm, lists Mr Lum as its managing director.


The firm’s construction arm, Lum Chang Building Contractors, has taken on multibillion-dollar civil, building and infrastructural projects in Singapore, including being the main contractor for Bukit Panjang station along the Downtown Line.

An LTA spokesperson said on March 25 that the statutory board has two ongoing projects with Lum Chang Building Contractors, including the one at Tanah Merah station that was awarded in October 2016.

The other one is the construction of the North-South Corridor tunnel between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 9 that was awarded in December 2018.

“LTA has not awarded any contract to Lum Chang Building Contractors since 2019,” the spokesperson added.

Lum Chang declined to comment when contacted by The Straits Times.

Iswaran arrived in court on March 25 at about 8.20am with members from his legal team from Davinder Singh Chambers.

Speaking to the media gathered outside the court, he said: “Sorry you all had to get up so early this morning.”As he walked towards the court trailed by members of the media, one of them tripped and fell. Iswaran helped him pick up his belongings.


Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng told the court that the purpose of March 25’s hearing was to tender eight additional charges against Iswaran and transmit the new charges to the High Court. 

Mr Navin Shanmugaraj Thevar, one of Iswaran’s lawyers, questioned why the new charges were tendered only now, and if the prosecution intended to file more charges against his client. 

Mr Thevar said the prosecution recorded 36 cautioned statements from Iswaran in January 2024 but only handed the former minister 27 charges at his first court hearing on Jan 18.

“The eight new charges today were not part of the 36 (cautioned statements),” the defence lawyer added.

A cautioned statement sets out a notice for an accused person to provide his defence in response to an offence he is being charged with. 

Mr Thevar added that the eight new charges related to matters that the CPIB had questioned Iswaran over in July and August 2023. 

He said: “On March 16, three days before the criminal case disclosure conference (CCDC) at the High Court, CPIB called my client in and he was served eight new charges.”

During a CCDC, the prosecution and the defence disclose information about the case to facilitate the trial process.

He added: “When Mr Iswaran asked CPIB when the charges would be brought in court, he was told a decision had not been made.”

Chief Prosecutor Tan said in response that all charges tendered against Iswaran were based on evidence uncovered by CPIB and they had been reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC). He added that the State Courts was not the right forum for such issues and urged the defence to raise them in the High Court instead.

Iswaran, 61, was charged at the State Courts on Jan 18 and his case was later transferred to the High Court. A chambers hearing was fixed for April 2 for the prosecution and the defence to exchange information ahead of the trial.

Those who have ongoing High Court cases would have to return to the State Courts if additional charges are filed against them.

Iswaran initially faced 27 charges, including two for corruption.

The corruption charges relate to alleged bribes obtained from billionaire Ong Beng Seng as inducement for advancing the hotel and property tycoon’s business interests in relation to agreements between race promoter Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Mr Ong, who is chairman of Singapore GP, is credited with bringing the Formula 1 Grand Prix to Singapore.

Iswaran also faces 24 counts under Section 165. He is the first reported person to be charged under the section.

These charges are for allegedly obtaining, as a minister, items with a total value of more than $200,000 from Mr Ong between November 2015 and December 2021.

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

Iswaran was also handed a charge of obstructing the course of justice for allegedly making repayment of $5,700 in May 2023 for the cost of a business class flight ticket that he purportedly took in 2022 at Mr Ong’s expense.


Iswaran was elected in 1997 as an MP for West Coast GRC, where he served for 26 years. He was promoted to full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2011.

He resigned from the People’s Action Party in January and stepped down as transport minister and West Coast GRC MP.

Following his court appearance on Jan 18, Iswaran issued a statement declaring his innocence and said he will focus on clearing his name. He was granted $800,000 bail.

He was allowed to leave Singapore from Feb 16 to March 4 to help his son settle in at a university in Melbourne.

The prosecution imposed several conditions to this application, including additional $500,000 bail and having to provide the investigation officer with his itinerary and his address overseas.

ST had reported that during his trip, Iswaran was admitted to private hospital Cabrini Malvern for respiratory illness.

He was advised by his doctor not to travel for 12 days following his discharge from the hospital in Melbourne on March 5.

He returned to Singapore and surrendered his passport to the authorities, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said on March 20.


On Feb 5, Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu told Parliament that STB was conducting an audit of the 2022 edition of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, following allegations of corruption against Iswaran.

She said that to safeguard Singapore’s interests, the Ministry of Trade and Industry was also reviewing the terms of the deal between STB and Singapore GP to organise the F1 night race here.

For each corruption charge, Iswaran can be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to seven years, or both.

He can be fined, jailed for up to two years, or both, for obtaining valuable items from someone he had business dealings with as a public servant.

For obstructing the course of justice, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.