I refer to the article “Zimbabwe’s Mugabe flies to Singapore for medical checks” (Channel NewsAsia, Mar 2).

It states that “HARARE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe travelled to Singapore for a medical checkup on Wednesday, his spokesman said, days after he celebrated his 93rd birthday by vowing to add to his 36 years in charge of the southern African nation.

As Mugabe flew to Singapore, nurses at public hospitals joined junior doctors in a two-week strike that is meant to pressure Mugabe’s government into paying 2016 bonuses due in December.

Mugabe frequently travels to Singapore for medical checks, with aides saying he suffers from an eye cataract. But reports in private media suggest he has prostate cancer, something Mugabe’s office denies.

The veteran leader’s critics say his overseas medical trips testify to the collapse of Zimbabwe’s public health system since the economy started to fall apart in 2000.

The issue of succession to Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980, has divided the ruling ZANU-PF party into two camps, with one supporting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other Mugabe’s wife, Grace.”

Mugabe is arguably the most detested living dictator in the world today.

Why does he keep coming to Singapore over the years?

In this connection, for example, it has been reported in the past that “The 88-year-old president is undergoing intensive treatment for an unnamed condition in Singapore, according to the Zimbabwe Mail.

Mugabe, who has been in power 32 years, had been in Singapore to oversee his daughter Bona’s enrolment in a postgraduate course at Singapore University.

Other members of his family reportedly flew out by private jet yesterday to be at his bedside.

Mugabe is blamed for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy and plunging millions into poverty.

It is one of the world’s poorest countries with around three-quarters of the population living on less than £1 a day.” (“Sick dictator: Tyrant Robert Mugabe ‘fighting for life in hospital‘”, 10 Apr, 2012)”.

“French Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac

“Disgraced French Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac, had 15 million euros salted away in his secret Swiss bank account, a Swiss reporter claimed Sunday. And Cahuzac provided a fake tax certificate when he transferred the money to Singapore, reports say.” (“Disgraced budget minister had 15 million in Swiss account, report“, 7 Apr, 2013)

ICIJ offshore accounts leaks

““Deutsche Bank Helped Customers maintain hundreds of offshore entities”


and “Ferdinand Marcos’ daughter tied to Offshore Trust in the Caribbean”


The story on Deutsche Bank alleges that more than 100 customer consultants at Deutsche Bank Singapore helped to create or manage 309 offshore entities for its clients. Germans attempting to move their funds in Swiss Bank accounts to Singapore or to other tax havens through Singapore is not entirely news. In October 2012, the German and Singapore governments agreed on a deal to tackle this problem. The Singapore government agreed to designate tax crimes as “predicate offences” for money laundering.

… within the ICIJ website, the Singapore Link is beginning to throw up many other individuals. The common feature is the involvement of Portcullis Trustnet. ICIJ has done a piece on Trustnet:
http://www.icij.org/offshore/trusted-service-provider-blends-invisible-offshore-world” (“ICIJ’s Offshore Files: The Singapore Link?“, TR Emeritus, Apr 9, 2013)

Burmese Generals

“Rights group Earth Rights International says this has allowed the government to siphon off $5bn (£3bn) in revenue.

The money has reportedly been stashed in banks in Singapore, instead of being used to ease poverty in Burma.

Two Singapore banks named in the report also denied involvement.” (“Gas firms ‘prop up Burma’s junta‘”, 10 Sep, 2009)

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos

“The Philippines’ claim on $23 million its late president Ferdinand Marcos had looted and held in trust at West Landesbank AG’s Singapore branch was dismissed by a Singapore Court.

Justice Andrew Ang dismissed competing claims by the Philippines, citizens who suffered human rights abuses during Marcos’s rule and five others seeking access to the funds kept in the branch.

He allowed a claim by the Philippine National Bank, controlled by Lucio Tan, because it has legal title to the funds, according to a 75-page decision made public today. West Landesbank asked Singapore’s High Court in 2004 to help determine the owners of the money, part of what the judgment said was $567 million in ill-gotten gains of the Marcos family and his aides in various bank accounts.

Marcos, who took power in 1965, was overthrown in 1986 and exiled from the Southeast Asian nation. In 2003, the Philippines Supreme Court ordered more than $658 million of Marcos’s assets to be returned to the country.

Singapore’s courts can’t recognize the Philippines’ claim, which was based on the 2003 verdict, as the funds were never in the Philippines, Ang wrote.” (“Philippines’ Claim on Marcos’s Singapore Funds Dismissed“, 15 Aug, 2012)

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-Bian

“Reports here said prosecutor Ching Chi-jen would probe claims that the Chen family had transferred funds to Switzerland via the Singapore bank accounts of the ex-president’s brother-in-law Wu Ching-mao.

“Each country has similar rules on judicial assistence,” Ching said as he left, confirming he would meet the Singapore attorney-general’s office.” (“Chen Shui-bian investigated for money laundering“, 27 Aug, 2008)”

Leong Sze Hian

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