The town council issue is getting serious, with millions unaccounted for, and no clear answers for two years. The AHPETC’s own accountant, the Ministry of National Development (MND), and many residents have asked for answers.
The Aljunied Town Council has stayed silent.
Instead, they rely on lackeys and henchmen as PR agents and spin doctors. Through these proxies, the WP is conducting a campaign of half-truths, using what appears to be a rigorous research with graphs, figures and accounting analysis. This is nothing but a systematic attempt to obscure the facts.
Their proxy-in-chief - Andrew Loh.
Look at his latest offering in The Online Citizen. He quotes Desmond Lee MOS of MND.
“Mr Lee, who had made the accusations twice in a week, also claimed that instead of responding to the questions, the WP had launched a “coordinated online campaign to distract the public, using falsehoods, half-truths, and speculations, by friends, sympathisers and proxies. However, Mr Lee did not name who these “friends, sympathisers and proxies” who were supposed to be behind this “online campaign.””.
Well, Mr Loh don’t know who Mr Lee thinks of as WP’s friends and sympathisers? But he must certainly figure as among its proxies, its chief lackeys.
Let’s see what he does.
First, he brings up false accusations that have already been answered by MND.
The intent is clear – to say that the difficulties that WP has in replying is due to “handover issues. This is plainly false – and has been shown to be false.
‘Ms Sylvia Lim, the chairman of AHPETC, had said then that the party welcomed the Auditor’s inspection of its records.
In its Annual report of 2012/2013, the AHPETC noted several financial irregularities involving the Citizens’ Consultative Committee of the area, the former managing agent of the town council and the PAP-run Aljunied Town Council itself.
Its Annual Report said:
The WP said it had had difficulty trying to obtain information from the various parties about this. In a statement in February, the WP said:
The truth is that the MND had already replied AHPETC’S QUERIES, as it explained in a media statement:
AHPETC sought MND/HDB’s assistance for information on two occasions (2 Nov 12 and 20 Dec 12), on the payment status for some outstanding items in their records. This included the receivables from the Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs) for Town Improvement Projects, as well as from HDB.
In both instances, MND/HDB provided the information available, on 27 Nov 12 and 21 Dec 12 respectively.
In turn, MND/HDB asked the TC to provide further details and/or copy of invoices, to enable MND/HDB to help check on the payment status. However, the TC did not respond to this.
Actually, MND/HDB had paid the TC some $2.9m for CIPC projects, $2.4m in FY11 and $520,000 in FY12. As at end FY12, there was no more outstanding amount due to AHPETC from the CIPC.
Hence, we are puzzled by an outstanding receivable of $1.12m reflected in the TC’s FY12 financial statements.
SEE ST report on 20 Feb 14. Ministry refutes AHPETC's claim
THE Ministry of National Development (MND) yesterday refuted the Aljunied-Hougang–Punggol East Town Council's (AHPETC's) claim that it was unable to get data from government bodies for a particular item in its accounts.
At issue is a sum of $1.12 million, which the former Aljunied Town Council run by the People's Action Party had recorded as receivable from the Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs) for town improvement projects.
AHPETC's auditor said the town council had received about $521,000 from the CCC in the last financial year, but this could not be identified and matched to the $1.12 million receivable. AHPETCchairman Sylvia Lim referred to this last Friday as an example of a "information gap" arising from the handover of the town council to the Workers' Party in 2011.
But in response to queries, MND said AHPETC had twice in 2012 sought assistance for data on outstanding items in their records, including the amount receivable from the CCC. MND and HDB had provided the data available within 25 days in one case and a day in the other.
"In turn, MND/HDB asked the town council to provide further details and/or copy of invoices, to enableMND/HDB to help check on the payment status. However, (they) did not respond to this."
Yesterday, MND also disputed the $1.12 million figure. MND and HDB had paid AHPETC some $2.9 million for projects under the Community Improvement Projects Committee (CIPC) in the 2011 and 2012 financial years, it said. "As at end-FY12, there was no more outstanding amount due to AHPETC from the CIPC. Hence, we are puzzled by an outstanding receivable of $1.12m... in the FY12 financial statements."
It cannot be that TOC didn't know these accusations had in fact been answered. He must know that MND never stonewalled legitimate queries from AHPETC – MND had in fact, answered AHPETC’S queries promptly. It was AHPETC – because of its general incompetence – that persisted in clutching at straws to explain holes in its accounts. Although Mr Loh must know all this, he nevertheless SURFACES OLD DISCREDITED ALLEGATIONS in order to confuse and distract people.
Second, this is his pattern of deceit. He dishonestly raises issues, mixes them up and ends off with the accusation that the Government is “fixing” the opposition.
Here is a record of Spinmeister Andrew Loh on the Campaign trail
Current problems is because of handover issue with ‘difficulties in handover’ back from 2012/2013
MND had provided the data to AHPETC back in 2012
The power to approve and disburse grants to TCs lie in the hands of PAP CCCs and the PAP-dominated CIPC
This has nothing to do with CIPC grants. The S&CC operating grant is allocated to all Town Councils (TCs) based on the number of HDB flat units and the flat types. Smaller flat types get higher grants
Did the previous PAP Aljunied Town Council leave $3.3m in surplus for AHPETC or transferred all of it into the sinking fund?
Other town councils also ran operating deficits, and received government grants to overcome the deficit
All town councils transfer ACCUMULATED SURPLUSES to the sinking funds AFTER GEs – OPPOSITION TCs & PAP TCs. BUT Aljunied is the only one who IS in OPERATING deficit now, despite receiving the same amount of grants it has always received.
Aljunied receives the same grants now as in the past. It has roughly the same number of residents. The only thing that has changed IS its expenditure and the way it manages its money
Third, let’s have a look at what he doesn’t want you to see. The truth is:
1. WP is running its town council so badly that its figures have plummeted by $4 million in three years. Surplus $3.3 million in 2011, to minus $700,000 in 2013.
2. Two thirds of the residents there are involuntarily subsidizing those who won’t pay – arrears are now 29%.
3. WP has not submitted its accounts for 18 months – since May 2013.
Why is this happened? What is going on? Questions have been asked for two years, but instead of facing these questions head on, the WP has deployed an online brigade of shadow press secretaries.
So the facts are clear, but looking up all these facts need time. And Andrew Loh knows that people are short of time. So he tricks them with sleight of hand, telling half-truths with tables and figures. Rather than falling for these tricks, we should just do one thing – ask for answers from the WP straight. It’s time they stop hiding behind the skirts of their lackeys.