Published: 27 June 2018
1. A 43-year-old naturalised Singapore citizen was served with a Notice of Proposed Deprivation of Citizenship under Article 133(1) of the Constitution on 7 December 2017. This individual obtained Singapore citizenship by registration in 2003 through the Family Ties Scheme. At the point of his SC application, there was no information to suggest that he was involved in any criminal activities.
2. However, during his time as a Singapore citizen, this individual became an active and trusted member of an international match-fixing syndicate which was created in and took root in Singapore. He and his syndicate members used Singapore as a hub to conduct major global match-fixing activities.
3. He conspired with his syndicate members to fix football matches in various countries through corruption of officials and players. As part of this conspiracy, he travelled to these countries from Singapore to fix the matches. In addition, he entertained and cultivated relationships with foreign nationals in Singapore to draw them into his syndicate’s match-fixing activities. He helped move bribe monies for his syndicate into Singapore, and remitted – and even personally couriered – these bribes out from Singapore to facilitate his syndicate’s match-fixing activities. His serious criminal conduct not only undermined the integrity of Singapore’s financial system, but also law and order. Witnesses were afraid of testifying against the individual and his syndicate members in open court for fear of reprisal.
4. He was detained and subsequently released on Police supervision under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA). Given the severity of his criminal activities, and the extent of his involvement in the syndicate, the Minister for Home Affairs had assessed that it was not conducive to the public good that he should continue to be a citizen of Singapore. The Minister had therefore considered depriving him of his Singapore citizenship.
5. This individual subsequently referred his case to a Citizenship Committee of Inquiry (CCOI). Under Article 133 of the Constitution, a citizen who has been served the Notice of Proposed Deprivation of Singapore Citizenship, may have his case referred to the CCOI, which is an independent committee made up of private individuals appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs. The role of the CCOI is to inquire into the cases referred to it, consider all evidence and representations, and recommend to the Minister whether the proposed deprivation should proceed. The Minister will have regard to the report put up by the CCOI when making his final decision, and may adopt or depart from the CCOI’s recommendations.
6. After conducting the inquiry for this individual and considering the representations put up by various parties, the CCOI submitted a report with its recommendations to the Minister. The CCOI reported that, notwithstanding that there are sufficient grounds to deprive this individual of his Singapore citizenship, it recommended to the Minister to exercise his discretion and allow this individual to retain his citizenship on compassionate grounds. The CCOI made this recommendation after taking into consideration the additional mitigating facts, information, and testimonies presented to them during the CCOI inquiry. These include his strong family roots in Singapore, the service he has rendered to the community, as well as his conduct since his release.
7. The CCOI noted that this individual did not have any adverse record throughout his detention under the CLTPA or during his Police Supervision Order thus far. The CCOI observed that he has been earning an honest living since his release from detention and he has not re-engaged in any criminal activities. He also appeared to be very close to his children, playing an important role in their lives. His ex-wife and children had provided testimonials attesting to his love, attention and support for the children. The mosque where he performs voluntary community service has also attested to his good character. After reviewing the additional information presented and representations made to them, the CCOI formed the view that this individual appeared to be a changed man who would likely not re-offend.
8. The Minister has given due consideration to the CCOI’s assessment and recommendations, and has decided to give this individual another chance and not deprive him of his citizenship for now, subject to his conduct and behaviour. Should he be found engaging again in any act that is against the public good such as returning to crime, the Minister will not hesitate to exercise powers on behalf of the Government to recommence proceedings to deprive him of his Singapore citizenship.
9. Singapore citizenship comes with its privileges and benefits, as well as duties and obligations. Individuals who have been granted Singapore Citizenship should cherish it and not act contrary to national interests. The Ministry of Home Affairs will not hesitate to take action against anyone who undertakes activities that threaten our security, public safety, peace or good order.