Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Issuance of Certificates of Substantial Assistance under the Misuse of Drugs Act since 1 January 2013

Published: 18 February 2022


Mr Murali Pillai
: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) since 1 January 2013, how many certificates of substantial assistance have been issued by the Public Prosecutor pursuant to section 33B(2)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973 (“MDA”) to persons who have been convicted for offences of trafficking, importing or exporting controlled drugs which are punishable with death thereby resulting in the court imposing imprisonment for life instead of the death penalty; and (b) on how many occasions did the Public Prosecutor refuse to issue certificates of substantial assistance even though these persons were held by the court to be involved in the delivering of or any act for the purpose of delivering the controlled drugs within the meaning of section 33B(2)(a)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) of the MDA which resulted in the court imposing the death penalty on these persons.


Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:

1.    From 1 January 2013 to 11 February 2022, out of 104 accused persons with convictions for capital offences of trafficking, importing or exporting controlled drugs that remained unchanged after appeal or review (as the case may be), and whom the Court found to be ‘couriers’ within the meaning of sections 33B(2)(a) and 33B(3)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, the Public Prosecutor has certified to the Court pursuant to section 33B(2)(b) of the Act that 82 substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore, and has declined to do so for the other 22.

2.    For each of the 82 accused persons who were ‘couriers’ and who provided substantive assistance, the Court exercised its discretion to sentence or re-sentence them (as the case may be) to life imprisonment with, where applicable, caning.

3.    Out of the 22 accused persons who were ‘couriers’ but did not provide substantive assistance, the Court imposed or upheld the imposition of (as the case may be) the mandatory death penalty on 14 persons. The other 8 were sentenced or re-sentenced (as the case may be) to life imprisonment as the Court found that they were suffering from an abnormality of mind within the meaning of section 33B(3)(b) of the Act.