The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Singaporean Parliament released the third report, revealing that the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), the procurement agent of the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), failed to verify the debarment status of subcontractors, thus unknowingly letting one of its contracts to a black-listed bidder.

According to Mindef Permanent Secretary, DSTA would revise its letting procedures in compliance with any amendment to be made to Government Instruction Manuals (IMs). The Ministry of Finance has just amended IMs to explicitly prohibit banned contractors from bidding as a subcontractor to any government project.

Earlier this year, PAC had also exposed other lapses in public finance, notably the release of Ministry of Health funds under the names of dead Singaporeans. The second report of PAC estimated that the Ministry overspent $178,150 in fraudulent claims.

The latest report, headed by Member of Parliament Cedric Foo, also brought into light a number of oversights, like administrative delays and property management lapses. For instance, the National Heritage Board (NHB) allegedly commissioned the construction of National Museum galleries without holding a competitive bid. NHB argued that an open tender would have delayed the construction as the project entailed complex system of integrating artistic works.

Other managerial lapses exposed by PAC were underutilisation of government properties, rental arrears left outstanding for more than a decade, idle government chalets, and bureaucracy at the Insolvency & Public Trustee’s Office.