Iswaran pleads not guilty to new charges involving whisky, golf clubs, and bicycle


Former Transport Minister S Iswaran faced eight new charges in court, bringing the total number of charges against him to 35. He pleaded not guilty to these charges.

The new charges under Section 165 of the Penal Code allege that Iswaran obtained valuable items, including bottles of whisky, golf clubs, and a Brompton bicycle, from a man named Lum Kok Seng. These items were allegedly obtained when Iswaran’s official function as Transport Minister was connected with Lum Chang Building Contractors’ business with the Land Transport Authority.

The items obtained from Mr Lum have a total value of S$18,956.94, according to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

According to the CNA report, the charges detail the specific items Iswaran allegedly obtained from Mr Lum between November 2021 and November 2022. These items include multiple bottles of whisky, wine, golf equipment, and a Brompton T Line bicycle.

The charges also mention the T315 contract, a S$325 million contract awarded to Lum Chang Building Contractors by LTA in 2016. The project involved addition and alteration works to the existing Tanah Merah Station and existing viaducts.


As per the report, the new charges accuse Iswaran of receiving the following items from Mr. Lum between November 2021 and November 2022, while Mr. Lum was involved with the T315 contract:

  • Four bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky valued at S$1,084.46
  • Two bottles of Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila whisky valued at S$524.23
  • Three bottles of L’Evangile 2014 wine valued at S$394.20
  • Three bottles of Pauillac De Latour 2015 wine valued at S$186.31
  • Three bottles of Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015 wine valued at S$1,177.21
  • Three bottles of Pichon Lalande 2010 wine valued at S$955.80
  • A TaylorMade golf driver valued at S$749
  • A set of Honma Beres BE-08 Black AQ MX golf clubs valued at S$4,420
  • A Brompton T Line bicycle valued at S$7,907.50
  • Two bottles of M&H Elements Sherry Cask whisky valued at S$198
  • A Scotty Cameron Phantom golf putter valued at S$600 and two golf chippers valued at S$100 each.


In court, Iswaran pleaded not guilty to the new charges. His legal team, including lawyers Mr Navin Thevar, Mr Rajvinder Singh, and Ms Sheiffa Safi Shirbeeni of Davinder Singh Chambers, represented him.

Chief Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng appeared for the prosecution, along with Deputy Chief Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue and Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Chong.

Iswaran’s lawyer raised concerns about the timing of the new charges, noting that the prosecution had not informed them of the possibility of additional charges earlier.

Mr Tan stated that the court hearing had two purposes: the first was to present the additional charges, and the second was to request the transfer of the new charges to the High Court.

When asked to enter his plea, Iswaran declared, “Not guilty,” and remained standing in the dock throughout the hearing.

Mr Thevar then requested the prosecution to inform the court and the defense if there were any plans to file additional charges against Iswaran. Mr Thevar explained, “Now the defence is raising this, your honour, because of the following circumstances: On Jan 5, 2024, the prosecution recorded 36 cautioned statements from our client”.

The eight charges filed today were not among the original 36 charges. However, during the first court appearance on Jan 18, 2024, the prosecution only disclosed 27 charges to the defense without informing them that nine charges were being dropped. When the defense later discovered this discrepancy, they brought it to the attention of the court.

The prosecution explained that they decided to drop nine charges after reviewing all the evidence, but did not mention the possibility of additional charges being filed.

“On Mar 16, three days before the first CCDC (criminal case disclosure conference) in High Court on Mar 19, CPIB asked our client to attend at its offices on Mar 18,” the lawyer according to the report.

When Iswaran went to the CPIB’s office on March 18, he was presented with eight new charges and CPIB obtained cautioned statements from him, according to Mr Thevar.

“It is unclear why these eight charges have only been brought forward now,” Mr Thevar commented.

“It should be noted that these charges pertain to issues that CPIB had previously questioned our client about in July and August of last year. Surprisingly, our client was never asked to attend any further interviews to provide more information on those matters.”

Mr Thevar mentioned that on March 18, Iswaran inquired about when the new charges would be brought to court, and was informed by the CPIB officer that a decision regarding the charges had not yet been made. It wasn’t until March 22 that Iswaran was notified of the prosecution’s decision to press the eight charges against him.

In response, the Chief Prosecutor stated, “All charges against the accused in this case are based on evidence collected by CPIB and reviewed by the AGC.” He further added that the current forum was not the appropriate platform for the defense to address these concerns and advised that they could be raised before the High Court.

The Chief Prosecutor requested the court to transfer the charges to the High Court for the next CCDC session on April 2. The judge then had Iswaran’s bailor acknowledge the new charges and transferred the eight charges to the High Court for trial.

The Chief Prosecutor defended the filing of the new charges, stating that they were based on evidence received by CPIB and reviewed by AGC.


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