STB auditing 2022 F1 race
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is conducting an audit of the 2022 edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, following the allegations of corruption against former Transport Minister S. Iswaran.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is also reviewing the terms of the deal between the STB and Singapore GP to organise the F1 night race here so as to safeguard Singapore’s interest, said Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu in Parliament on Feb 5.
Ms Fu was responding to questions from MPs on the F1 contracts in light of findings by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Mr Iswaran.
These included whether STB has been directed to conduct a full assessment of the relationship between Mr Iswaran and property tycoon Ong Beng Seng, who chairs Singapore GP, concerning the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, and whether there have been possible lapses in due diligence and reporting processes.
The F1 contract was first reached in 2007, and was subsequently renewed three times: in 2012, 2017 and 2022. The current contract ends in 2028.
Ms Fu noted that MTI had previously said that the terms of all agreements were considered carefully by the government, and there was an independent consultancy study. There was nothing to suggest at that point that either the F1 contracts or other contracts were structured to the disadvantage of the government.
“But as Members will appreciate, given the allegations of corruption, we are reviewing the terms of deal again,” she said. “We have also asked STB to conduct an audit of the most recent race, held in 2022, of which accounts are ready for audit.”
She prefaced her response by noting that many of MPs’ questions related to matters which may have to be dealt with during the trial of Mr Iswaran. Mr Iswaran was charged in January for corruption and other offences, about six months after his arrest by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
Associate Professor Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) asked if the Government will be reviewing any other contracts that it has with Mr Ong’s companies over and beyond the F1 race.
Ms Fu said she was not aware that the Government has contracts with Mr Ong’s companies that are of the same nature and relevance.
“Whilst we will review any Government contracts to safeguard Singapore’s interest, we remain committed to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix,” she said. “Preparations for the 2024 race have started.”