2022 Anti-corruption Guide – Singapore | World Law Group

[author: ONG Pei Chin]*

1. Is your country a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention?


2. Is your country a member of any other bilateral or multilateral conventions on anti-corruption?

Yes. Singapore is a member of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. At the regional level, Singapore is also a founding member of the Asia Development Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s joint Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific and the Southeast Asia Parties Against Corruption, an Entity Associated with ASEAN listed in Annex 2 of the ASEAN Charter.

3. Are there local anti-corruption laws in your country focusing on corporations, not individuals? If yes, what sanctions can be imposed?

No. Corporate liability is based on the general principles relating to the attribution of liability to corporations.

4. Can companies be held liable for acts of corruption under civil or administrative law?

There is no provision for administrative liability under Singapore law. Under Singapore’s Prevention of Corruption Act 1960, when a bribe has been given by any person (which can include a corporation) to an agent, the agent’s principal can recover the value of the bribe as a civil debt.

5. Is corruption of individuals punishable?

Yes, the Prevention of Corruption Act 1960 applies to private individuals and public officials.

6. Are facilitation payments allowed?

No. There is no exemption for facilitation payments under Singapore law.

7. Is there a legal regulation/maximum limit for accepting or giving gifts, invitations, etc.?

No. Singapore laws do not provide any acceptable threshold for gifts, invitations, etc.

8. Are bribes to foreign government officials prohibited?


9. Does your legislation have any extraterritorial reach?

Yes. A Singapore citizen can be liable for corruption offenses committed outside Singapore as if they had been committed in Singapore. In the case of a public servant, this also extends to permanent residents. There can also be a liability for the abetment of an offense committed outside Singapore in relation to the affairs or business or on behalf of a principal residing in Singapore.

10. Is it possible to confiscate assets from the company?

Yes, under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992.

11. Does your legislation rely on deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreements or any other type of non-trial resolution for corruption?

Yes, deferred prosecution agreements may be offered under the Criminal Procedure Code, subject to conditions that may be imposed (which can include a financial penalty). Deferred prosecution agreements also require the approval of the Singapore High Court.

12. Can a company be liable for the acts of its intermediaries or third parties?

Yes, subject to the general principles of attribution of liability (e.g., under the law of agency).

13. Can a parent company be liable for the acts of its subsidiaries?


14. Are there any affirmative defenses or exceptions for those accused of corruption acts?


15. Does your jurisdiction require domestic entities to implement anti-corruption internal programs?

No. It is not a legal requirement for companies to have an anti-corruption program. However, companies listed in Singapore are expected to maintain a sound risk management system and internal controls under the Code of Corporate Governance (under the purview of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Exchange).

16. Is having a compliance program a defense or mitigating factor, while reviewing sanctions?

Having a compliance program is not a defense. There is no express provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act that identifies mitigating factors. In principle, however, having a compliance program may be considered.

17. Could the cooperation with the authorities or an internal investigation be a defense or mitigating factor?

Cooperation with the authorities or an internal investigation is not a defense. There is no express provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act that sets out the mitigation factors. However, both of the above may be considered, and cooperation with the authorities has been recognized as a mitigating principle in criminal cases.

18. Is there any publicly available guideline issued by the authorities in charge of enforcing anti-corruption laws? For example, manuals on compliance programs, leniency agreements, etc. If so, please provide the link.

Yes. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has issued a Practical Anti-Corruption Guide for Businesses in Singapore (https://www.cpib.gov.sg/files/pact_2018.pdf). Case studies can also be found in the Annual Corruption Statistics released by CPIB (https://www.cpib.gov.sg/research-room/annual-statistics-report/).

*WongPartnership LLP