Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Concerned Citizen: AHPETC, when will you tell the truth?

AHPETC, when will you tell the truth?

AHPETC MND verdict of court case

I used to think the PAP was 'fixing' AHPETC. AHPETC is run by the opposition Worker's Party. So I used to think that any trouble AHPETC ran into was probably played up by the PAP to make WP look bad.
Even when the Auditor General found problems in AHPETC's accounts, I closed one eye because they were newcomers on the block. Of course they would make a bit of mistakes before they get more experience, right? At least they were honest and served their residents with integrity.
But when I saw the recent court decision from the case between MND and AHPETC, I was stunned like a vegetable.
The judge said that the Chairperson of AHPETC, Sylvia Lim, had hidden the truth about AHPETC's money transfers from Parliament. She told Parliament that AHPETC had been transferring money to its sinking funds, when actually AHPETC had made the transfers late. AHPETC had even made one of the transfers the day before she was supposed to answer for AHPETC's actions in Parliament!
So Sylvia, please tell us, your ex-supporters, the truth: why did you mislead Parliament? It's one thing to make beginner's mistakes, but another thing to speak to Parliament without honesty and integrity. I can forgive small mistakes, but I cannot forgive people who hide the truth.
WP, I thought I supported you for your honesty and integrity. That's what we raised you up to Parliament for - to be our honest voice; to look after our interests. But if you can't even be honest in your own accounts to Parliament, I wonder what else you're not honest in.
A concerned citizen

Thursday, 28 May 2015

MND loses to AHPETC but wins a Strategic Decision

Lose the Battle but Win the War!

MND loses to AHPETC

Court rejected MND's application for the appointment of Independent Auditors to allow the release of much needed government grants to AHPETC. Who win and who lose?  Does it matter? Does anyone even bother? More importantly, what does it mean to the man in the street? Browsing through the Court's findings, there are some interesting points to note :

a.    Court agreed with MND's concerns about AHPETC.  The Court said there were "grave and serious questions" that have been raised regarding the state of AHPETC's accounts, and the validity and propriety of payments previously made by AHPETC to related parties (amounting to $25.9 million), and that "there have also been numerous breaches of the provisions" of the Town Councils Act and Town Councils Financial Rules. The Court added that the TC's conduct was the height of financial irresponsibility.

b.    Justice Quentin Loh also stated that if AHPETC was a managing corporation subject to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA), he would have no doubt that AHPETC or its officers will be exposed to the "possibility of civil liability... or, in an extreme scenario, criminal liability".

c.    The Court added that it was a travesty for AHPETC to have ignored their duties and obligations. And that the AHPETC was to be blamed for not accepting MND's offer to release the grant. More importantly, Justice Loh found that Sylia Lim's had lied to Parliament in her statement on 12 February 2015. Ms Lim, however, insists that her statement in Parliament on 12 February 2015 was "true and correct". While it may be "true and correct" that AHPETC had been making transfers for FY 14/15 (since they have made two out of the four transfers for that financial year), Ms Lim failed to mention that both of these transfers were late, one of which was only made the day before her said statement in Parliament. She also failed to mention that the third transfer was already due at that time but AHPETC has yet to make it. 

I find the Latin phrase, suppressio veri, suggestio falsi (suppression of the truth is equivalent to the suggestion of what is false) particularly apt to this statement of Ms Lim's.

This is very serious. As a Judge has found that Ms Sylvia Lim had lied in her statement, Ms Sylvia Lim can be cited for abuse of parliamentary privilege and disbarred from parliament. If government wants to act, parliament would probably agree given what the Court has found.

In short, the Government may have lost this battle, but it has won the war

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Amos Yee … Saint or Villian?

Amos Yee … Saint or Villian?
Amos Yee accuses Vincent Law of molest

In an interesting week, the darling of the opposition has turn out to be their worst nightmare. Trying to capitalize on the so-called unjust “persecution” of a young child exercising his constitutional right to free speech, activists like Roy Ngerng, Vincent Law (an aspiring SDP candidate for GE2016), Jolovan Wham and Alfian Sa’at threw themselves behind Amos Yee.
Unfortunately for them, Amos was wiser than they thought and he "out-ed" them for the fakes that they are. In a lengthy blog post titled “The Molestation Of Vincent Law”, Amos gave a blow by blow account of how these hypocrites attempted to exploit him for their own political gains.
In Amos’ mind, Vincent Law is a “charlatan, a huckster, a hypocrite and a fraud.” According to Amos, Vincent is now hounding his mother, demanding that Amos issue a public apology to him and his family. Otherwise Vincent would get a lawyer to sue him. Amos rightly pointed out that if Vincent was truly standing up for him and is fighting for freedom of speech, Vincent would be fighting against the laws that claims that even if somebody lies, mocks or offends a person or large amounts of people, it should not be deemed as a criminal offense. But now, when the cause that Vincent so boldly advocated, is used unfavorably towards him, he is now threatening to use those exact same laws that he went against, to sue Amos.
According to Amos, even Roy Ngerng is a hypocrite. Roy told Amos that it’s going to be so hard for us to advocate for you, now that you’ve humiliated Vincent. That is when Amos responded that "if my fanbase consists of hypocrites, then despite your support I wouldn’t want it. When things looks bad, and you threaten to remove the support you once had for me. Then fine, good riddance. If that’s the kind of support I receive, one that’s so easily withdrawn, then believe me, I do not wish to acquire your quote unquote ‘support’."
In short, Amos Yee, in our opinion has single-handedly destroyed opposition activists like Roy Ngerng, Vincent Law and Alfian Sa’at by revealing their true characters. If Singaporeans have seen first-hand the true character of Roy, Vincent and Alfian, some good has come out of Amos Yee saga.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Alfian Sa'at: A Naivete View of Amos Yee

Yahoo! Singapore recently carried an article by Alfian Sa’at detailing a conversation he had with Amos Yee.

Alfian Saat Conversation with Amos Yee

In the article, Alfian Sa’at essentially tries to “humanize” Amos by portraying him as a wide-eyed harmless teenager who is more bark than bite. Alfian does this by sharing snippets of his conversations with Amos. For example how Amos' school-mates used to make fun of his name, about his interest sci-fi movies, and how Amos has an “endearing” habit of stroking his chin before he spoke.

Alfian then goes on to talk about how mature and enlightened Amos is for his age. Alfian shares how Amos sees the use of vulgarities as a message in and of itself, and how Amos believes that he has a higher purpose in life which goes beyond how his actions may hurt his parents. In short Alfian’s message to Singaporeans is that Amos is your everyday teenager who is idealistic and who rants and raves. Amos is harmless.

Unfortunately, Alfian is wrong! Amos is not your everyday teenager. Sure Teenagers rant and rave. I was one too. However, how many teenagers deliberately and knowing break the law? How many teenagers will openly defy a court orderAnd how many teenagers will maliciously tarnish the name and reputation of a good Samaritan (Vincent Law) as a lark?

So Alfian, Amos is not the innocent teenager you portray him to be. He is far from it. By your own admission, Amos is wise beyond his age. As such, Amos fully knows what he is doing and should face the full weight of the law for his actions. Just ask Vincent Law.

It is ironic that Amos accepts that he has broken the law and is willing to accept his punishment, while so-called more “experienced” activists like yourself baulk at the concept of Amos answering for his actions. Perhaps, just perhaps, your cries to #FreeAmos is self-serving and Amos is more of a man than you will ever be.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

MND vs AHPETC: The facts of the case

MND details exchange it had with Sylvia Lim over financial status of AHPETC.

The National Development Ministry says even though it had offered to disburse half of the FY2014/15 Service and Conservancy Charge Operating Grant to Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, the town council chairman Sylvia Lim did not take up the offer.


SINGAPORE: Earlier in April, the Ministry of National Development (MND) stated in court that the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) is "technically insolvent". This charge was not challenged by the town council (TC).

The court hearing was to decide if independent accountants should be appointed to safeguard government grants. When asked if the town council had become insolvent because the ministry had withheld funding, the ministry released the exchange it had with Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim, over the financial status of AHPETC.

MND said in response to media queries that even before the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) audit was completed it had offered, in response to Ms Lim's appeal, to disburse half of the FY2014/15 Service and Conservancy Charge (S&CC) Operating Grant to AHPETC. However, AHPETC "failed to take up the offer", MND said.

"In 2014, Ms Sylvia Lim had appealed to MND twice to disburse the S&CC Operating Grant, even though the AGO audit was ongoing, stating that the TC would not be able to pay its contractors and make Sinking Fund transfers otherwise. Yet, when MND, in response to her appeal, offered to disburse half of the grant to the TC, she did not take up the offer," an MND spokesperson said.

"MND has now applied to the Court to appoint Independent Accountants to enable the grant to be securely disbursed to AHPETC. But again, despite repeated questions from the judge, AHPETC told the Court it does not need the grants," the spokesperson added.

The ministry said the sequence of events is as follows:

• On April 28, 2014, MND wrote to Ms Sylvia Lim: “MND is considering to withhold the FY14/15 S&CC Operating Grant until the conclusion of the audit by the Auditor-General. Right now, we do not have reasonable assurance of proper financial management and keeping of accounts by AHPETC. Before we do so, we want to know whether AHPETC has any views or concerns as regards the proposed withholding of the above S&CC Operating Grant. If there are, you must let us have AHPETC’s views or concerns in writing for our consideration no later than 10 working days after you have received this letter (i.e. by May 14, 2014).” Ms Sylvia Lim did not reply to MND by May 14, 2014.

• More than a month later, on June 16, 2014, Ms Sylvia Lim wrote to MND, stating: “the continued withholding of the grant to AHPETC is likely to critically and adversely affect the TC’s cash flow position, resulting in a disruption of essential services to the town because the TC would not be able to pay its contractors…We call on the Ministry to disburse without further delay the Operating Grant it has withheld from AHPETC.”

• On June 20, 2014, MND replied to Ms Sylvia Lim that it was prepared to “reconsider the withholding of grant, to take into account the impact, if any, this may have on the TC’s provision of essential services to the town.” Following this, MND and AHPETC had a series of exchanges to clarify AHPETC’s cash flow position.

• On Oct 7, 2014, MND informed Ms Sylvia Lim that MND was “deeply concerned about the TC’s financial situation based on the information you provided and we would like to work with you to see how we can help the TC sustain its operations and avoid disruption of essential services to residents. We are prepared to consider, as an exceptional measure, releasing half the operating grant to AHPETC while the AGO audit is still on-going”. This would be subject to conditions such as Ms Lim ensuring that the TC makes all the necessary transfers to the Sinking Fund for the entire Financial Year as required under the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules, and Ms Lim confirming and declaring that the statements on AHPETC’s financial accounts she earlier provided to MND was true. MND did not receive any reply from Ms Sylvia Lim.

• On Nov 5, 2014, Mr Low Thia Khiang told the media that the TC had no cash flow problem.

• A week later, on Nov 12, 2014, Ms Sylvia Lim informed MND: “I would like to inform you that the figures given in my letters of July 30, 2014 and Aug 13, 2014, while correct based on information at the time, will need updating. We are assessing the situation and will reply substantively to your letter of Oct 7, 2014 should we wish to take the option of the half-grant while awaiting the conclusion of the AGO audit.” Ms Sylvia Lim had not gotten back to MND since then.

• On Feb 12, 2015, Ms Sylvia Lim told Parliament: “The Town Council accepts that it should have transferred the full amounts due to the sinking funds each quarter and should have paid sinking fund expenses directly from the sinking fund accounts. We have taken steps and made good the transfers… We have also done the transfers for FY2013 and have been making transfers for FY2014.”

• On Mar 27, 2015, during the Pre-Trial Conference, Ms Sylvia Lim repeatedly assured the Judge that AHPETC did not urgently need fresh grants from MND, as AHPETC had sufficient funds for at least the next 3 months. Ms Lim’s lawyer also told the Judge, after checking with Ms Sylvia Lim: “I have spoken to my client … they have not pursued the MND to release … the grants … because they don’t need the funds. They are okay … they can manage.”

• Yet, on May 4 and 5, it was revealed in Ms Sylvia Lim’s sworn affidavit, signed Apr 17, and in front of the Judge, that AHPETC had not made two out of the four mandatory quarterly transfers to the Sinking Fund for FY14/15, and even the two transfers it did make (for 1Q/2QFY14) were late. AHPETC also admitted that the TC would need the S&CC grants in order to operate in accordance with the law, and to make its Sinking Fund contributions. This was contrary to what Ms Sylvia Lim had told Parliament during the February 2015 Parliamentary debate on the AGO report, and what she and AHPETC’s lawyer told the Judge on Mar 27.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

AHPETC: A Wake-Up Call to Vote Wisely

AHPETC: A Wake-Up Call to Vote Wisely (original article from Talking Singapore)

With AHPETC back in the spot-light for their alleged misappropriation of public funds, I think it is timely for Singaporea...ns to reflect on the significance of their Vote.

WP Manifesto GE 2011

Regardless of whether the Court decides to uphold The Worker’s Party’s assertion that the Government is powerless to interfere in the running of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East even when there is gross dereliction of duties or not, the fundamental issue at hand is how Singaporeans view (and hence exercise) their constitutional right to Vote.

Since 2006, the once dominant People’s Action Party (PAP) have been denied the Government on Nomination Day. In General Election 2006, the opposition parties contested more than half the Parliamentary seats, and in 2011 all constituencies except one was contested. Vote share for the Government has also fallen to an all-time low.

Polls, focus groups and studies into the “poor” election performance of the Government reveal that the electorate still believes that the PAP is the only credible party to govern Singapore. This is not surprising as the PAP’s traditional dominance has enabled them to recruit the best talents.

From this, one can only conclude that the poor showing of the PAP at the polls is due to the casting of protest votes. The intention to vote for the opposition, even though they know the PAP is the better party, is to signal that they are unhappy and that the PAP must work harder.

Unfortunately, adopting such an approach is extremely dangerously as no one can know for certain who will vote for whom. Such reckless actions can result in a freak election result where the PAP is voted out of power. Singaporeans only need to look at AHPETC for evidence that the opposition is not ready to govern Singapore and what could possibly happen to the country if they were the elected Government.

For the sake of Singapore, Singaporeans should vote wisely for the party that can best serve them. In the event that Singaporeans are unhappy and want the PAP to know it, the wiser move is to spoil your vote then to vote for an opposition that cannot serve Singapore. Do not risk a freak election result. The residents of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East are suffering for their choice.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

AHPETC is Insolvent ... WP #epicfail

Article originally appeared in


The 2nd day of Court hearing to determine the Ministry of National Development's (MND) request to appoint an independent auditor to safe-guard public S&CC grants to AHPETC, as well as to determine if earlier public funds had been misappropriated, reached a startling conclusion.

MND declares AHPETC insolvent

Legal Counsel for MND, Aurill Kam, laid out the facts of the case and it was revealed that AHPETC is technically insolvent. In short, without immediate help from the Government, the opposition run town council of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East would run out of money for essential services as soon as next month (June 2015). This charge was not disputed by AHPETC.

Ms Kam said that it would not be an overstatement to say that the Workers' Party-run town council is "technically insolvent" and that the town council had been "economical with the truth", when its leaders told Parliament in February that it had been making transfers to the sinking fund for 2014. Payments to the fund are to be made quarterly, but at that time, the town council had already missed the payment for the third quarter.

MND maintains that unless independent accountants are appointed, fresh grants that are disbursed to the town council will not be protected, and there can be no assurance that serious steps will be taken to credibly review whether there have been any wrongful payments, breach of duty, or unlawful conduct so far.

In the mean time, residents of AHPETC have to seriously think if they can live with the consequences of their Vote. Essentially, what the Worker's Party is saying is that if your town council runs out of money, you will just have to suffer lift breakdowns and dirty corridors until the next general election. To Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang, how they run the opposition ward is something between them and the voters. It is not for the Government nor the courts to intervene. To them, you live with your choice for better or for worse. AHPETC belongs to the Worker's Party and WP is the law.

The decision of the Court has serious implications for the next Singapore General Elections. If the Courts agree with the Worker's Party that there is nothing the Government can do, opposition supporters need to think carefully before they cast their protest votes. Many opposition supporters have been frivolous with their votes as they believed that even if the opposition does not do a good job, the Government would not just let things be because we’re all taxpayers after all and the grant are really taxpayers’ money.

Anyway, it’s in court now. Even if the residents decide that they wanted to do anything, there is nothing they can do. Perhaps Mr Lee was right. You vote for WP, you will repent at WP's leisure. Nobody can do say or do anything about any failure, including misappropriation of money and bankruptcy, in the Republic of AHPETC.

Monday, 4 May 2015

AHPETC: We are above the law

Extracted from TalkingSingapore


AHPETC is above the law Peter Low

In Court today (4 May 2015), lawyer for AHPETC, Peter Low made the astounding claim that AHPETC is above the law, and that the Government and the residents of Aljunied can do nothing if AHPETC has mismanaged or misspent money. According to the lawyer for AHPETC, all that can be done is for the Court to say that it is naughty of the TC and to wait till the next General Election.

Members of the public, present in court today, were visibly shocked to hear this as the Worker's Party had campaigned on the platform of greater transparency and accountability during the Singapore General Elections 2011. Upon hearing Peter Low's statement, one opposition supporter was observed to have stormed out of the court room swearing that the Worker's Party had lied to him and Singaporeans and that they are a bunch of self-serving crooks.

Court proceedings today also revealed that Ms Sylvia Lim had misled the Public, Parliament and the Courts. Her pattern of lies were disclosed ....

Sylvia Lim Misled the Public. In a 14 Feb 2014 press statement, in response to an observation from its own Auditor, Ms Lim assured the public that the TC had rectified its failure to transfer monies to the Sinking Fund. However, the AGO Report subsequently showed that AHPETC had in fact not rectified its contravention, contrary to what Ms Lim claimed. 

Sylvia Lim Misled Parliament. On 12 Feb 2015, in response to the AGO Report, Ms Lim told Parliament that the TC accepted AGO’s finding and was transferring monies to the Sinking Fund quarterly, in compliance with the law. However, it is revealed in Ms Lim’s sworn Affidavit and in Court today that the TC is in fact continuing to contravene the law: for FY14/15, the TC made transfers for two quarters of the Financial Year, instead of four, and the two transfers were late.

Sylvia Lim Misled the Court. On 27 Mar 2015, Ms Lim told the Court that the TC had sufficient funds for operations for at least the next three months. However, she did not reveal to the Court that this was premised on AHPETC continuing to contravene the law and not making sinking fund transfers. Today, AHPETC told the Court that the TC in fact did not have sufficient funds to run the TC if it were to transfer monies to the Sinking Fund, as required by law.

Given AHPETC’s fundamental position that it is above the law, it is important for the Court to tell AHPETC and the Worker's Party that no one is above in the law in Singapore. The Court need to immediately approve MND's request to appoint Independent Accountants to (a) rectify weaknesses in AHPETC financial system; and (b) do a forenic audit to recover lost public funds.

In short, AHPETC's pattern of deceit can be summarised below:

1.    Foo, Kon & Tan (AHPETC's original auditor) had pointed out that AHPETC did not make the mandatory transfer of money to the Sinking Fund not paid.
2.    Sylvia Lim said in a Press Release that they will pay.
3.    AGO Special Audit found that AHPETC did not transfer of money to the Sinking Fund.
4.    Sylvia Lim said in Parliament they have corrected this and paid, and will pay.
5.    Today's Court proceeding shows that AHPETC has still not transfered money to the Sinking Fund

Is this the sort of opposition you want? Singaporeans need to tell Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang that no one is above the law in Singapore. VTO!

AHPETC Court Case on Independent Auditor

A Fearful AHPETC Responds ... Finally

2 days before MND's application to the Singapore Courts to appoint independent auditors for AHPETC is heard, AHPETC made a surprising announcement that they have appointed their own external consultants to look into their accounts. (See our earlier article MND Moves to Protect Public Monies) While this is a welcome move, and something the Government has been asking for the past 3 years, the timing of the announcement is suspiciously political.

AHPETC appoints business assurance

Coming at the eleventh hour, this move is clearly designed to delay the appointment of an independent auditor who would have full access to all AHPETC financial records. This is likely to mean that the Worker's Party is afraid that a full forensic audit of AHPETC accounts will likely reveal the following misuse of public funds:
Firstly, as mentioned in the Parliamentary Debate on the AGO's Special Audit, the AGO reported that approximately $6.1 million of public funds to FMSS and FMSI (both owned by Worker's Party supporters) was not fully justified or properly computed.

Secondly, the illegal commingling of S&CC funds and the late (or non-transfer or inadequate) transfer of residents' money to the Sinking Fund. This impacts residents as building adequate financial reserves is necessary to ensure that key community infrastructure like lifts can be upgraded or replaced for the safety of residents.

Thirdly, the gross over-payment for the services of a Managing Agent. By some accounts, this is rumored to be much as 100% above market rates for their General Manager Ms How Weng Fan. Such gross over-payment is equivalent to being an inducement for her to be less than truthful to the residents of Aljunied in order to safe-guard her own self-interest.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

AHPETC Court Case - An Open Letter to Ms Sylvia Lim

An Open Letter to Ms Sylvia Lim

Dear Ms Sylvia Lim,

I am not your resident. I live in East Coast. But I hope you will not ignore me.

In Parliament Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam outlined some questions for the town councilors of AHPETC including:

1. Why did they not comply with normal accounting standards, resulting in millions of dollars in related party transactions?

2. Did they know that the managing agent FMSS was owned by a husband and wife team who were Workers’ Party supporters? Why was FMSS paid $1.6 million more per year compared to other town councils?

3. How much profit did FMSS make? How much were the husband and wife paid?

All these are valid questions. Instead of answering them, MP Pritam Singh stood up in Parliament and said he answered only to residents. If the Law Minister was a resident, said Mr Singh, he would answer him.

This is ridiculous. It has been many weeks since the Parliamentary sitting.

I pay S and C fees and I want some answers too. These are questions that ought to be publicly debated, not just whispered in shadows and coffee shops.

Mr Shanmugam is the Law Minister, and he says what the town councillors did was “unlawful”, taking money from the man in the street and giving it to their friends through town council operations.

He says: “Maybe there was no one taking money through the backdoor in the dark of the night - because the money was going out in broad daylight through the front door.”

Maybe, maybe not, but maybe is not good enough for me. I want to know for sure. It’s time all of us, residents or not, got some answers.

After all, if you are coming to my ward in the next GE, I want to know that my sinking funds are safe.

Joshua Lim

AHPETC: Lawless in Aljunied or WP Laws in Aljunied?

Lawless in Aljunied: Handover issues? What handover issues?

ahpetc lawless in aljunied

For the past few months, we the residents in Aljunied have been asking for answers – why is the town council run so badly? The reply from AHPETC: Handover issues.

Whether in Parliament, or in their walkabouts, the answer has been the same -  the PAP didn’t handover properly – they withheld access to information. They didn’t help us as much as we wanted. Low Thia Khiang said: “No one wants to work for me!” Sylvia Lim said attempts to get information from MND and the former managing agent “did not yield answers.

But the AGO report said that the WP town council had in fact commissioned a report in the early days when they took over from the PAP team. A footnote in the AGO report said:
"Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) engaged Mazars LLP (Mazars) in July 2011 to carry out a special audit of the financial statements for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 July 2011, prepared for handover of precincts of Aljunied Town Council to AHTC, Ang Mo Kio Town Council and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council. Mazars issued a clean audit opinion on all the financial statements."
So actually, there are NO HANDOVER ISSUES! AHTC’s own accountants gave the previous PAP team a clean bill of health. So it’s time that the AHPETC stop using the excuse of handover issues, and start answering some questions.

1. From Surplus to Deficit: How? The town council lost $4 million in 3 years. From a surplus of $3.3 million to a deficit of more than $700,000.
2. Money to friends: Why? The AHPETC pays 50% more to its managing agent than neighbouring town councils eg Tampines Town Council. Why?
3. Bullying the small guy: Who? Were the hawkers made to pay for the cleaning of their ceilings? Did the town council call the police on the shopkeepers who complained that there too many trade fairs held by the council?

So far, there have been no answers. These questions are dismissed as “baseless”, or blamed on “handover issues.” The AGO report shows the questions are not baseless. And the AGO footnote shows there are no handover issues.

Unless the AHPETC thinks they can behave outside the law, they really need to start giving some answers.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

AHPETC: What Sylvia Lim does not want Singaporeans to know ...

In the on-going saga over the likely misappropriation of government S&CC grants by AHPETC, one common refrain we hear from Ms Sylvia Lim and the Worker's Party is that the AGO Special Audit gave them a clean bill of health. The WP is telling their residents that if there is reasonable suspicion of any offence being committed, the CPIB/CAD would have been called in to investigate. So if CPIB and CAD have not stepped-in, this proves that AHPETC has done nothing wrong.

WP lies about AHPETC

What Ms Sylvia Lim, the Worker's Party and AHPETC have not told their residents is that the AGO Special Audit did not NOT find any criminal wrong-doing as this was beyond the scope of the audit. What the AGO Special Audit did find was that the financial reports submitted by AHPETC are not reliable and not accurate. MND has now asked for the appointment of an Independent Auditor, who will be tasked to do a forensic audit, and the CPIB/CAD will be called in once an offence is found. This is precisely why AHPETC does not want the Courts to appoint an Independent Auditor

AHPETC: 6 Distortions by the Worker's Party

The court hearing to determine MND's request to appoint an independent auditor for AHPETC will be heard next week. In a desperate attempt to continue to hide the truth from the public, AHPETC has gone on the offensive to appoint their "own external accounting firm". This is no different from when they said they would sort the matter out 3 years ago and is designed to distort the truth and mislead Singaporeans.

WP distortions about AHPETC

Let us look at some of the other distortions that AHPETC and the Worker's Party will resort to ....

Distortion #1: Politically Motivated. This is absolutely not true. MND is an impartial statutory board charged with the responsibility to ensure that tax-payers' money, and in this case, S&CC grants are used for their intended purposes. MND's request for the appointment of an independent auditor was made in direct response to the Worker's Party's own appeal to MND to release S&CC grants which have been withheld pending assurances that tax-payers money would not be misused. MND is thus doing this to help AHPETC.

Distortion #2: The Special Audit Found Nothing Wrong with AHPETC's Accounts. Contrary to what the Woker's Party wants Singaporeans to believe, the special audit did not not find any misappropriations. What the special audit did find, which was the only scope it had, was that the financial reports submitted by AHPETC was not accurate and that the actual health of AHPETC could not be determined.

Distortion #3: MND is going-back on its word to give AHPETC till Jun and Dec to file clean accounts. If this is what AHPETC wants, then do not appeal for the release of S&CC grants. Remember, MND's actions are the direct result of AHPETC's request.

Distortion #4: AHPETC is already doing many things to "fix the problems", and that the application for an independent auditor is not necessary. Yes, it may be true that AHPETC is working hard to fix the problems with their accounts, we however cannot say definitively that AHPETC is actually working to fix the problems. Their past records show that they are not likley to keep their word.

Distortion #5: Legal process is costly, and that the bill has to be paid for by the residents of Aljunied. Let us not forget that that it was AHPETC's own actions that resulted in legal actions by MND. This is very similar to you taking money from a friend, not using it as intended, and then accusing your friend of making you pay legal costs when he seeks to recover the money owed to him. It is simply illogical. 

Distortion #6: Another set of auditors is going to sap AHPETC’s energy, and affect service to residents. Accurate book-keeping is part and parcel of any business or organization. If proper accounting systems are in place, submitting to an auditor is not time-consuming.

These are some of the distortions that SG Bumiputera predicts that AHPETC and the Worker's Party will use in the coming weeks. Let's see if we are correct ....

AGO Special Audit - AHPETC Responds .... finally!

SINGAPORE: The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has appointed an external accounting firm to assist in cleaning up its earlier  accounts, the Town Council’s chairman Sylvia Lim announced on its website on Saturday (May 2).

The accounting firm will also "give advice on strengthening its internal controls and processes in financial management, and on internal audit matters", it added.

AHPETC also said it is "working hard" on completing its annual audits, "with a view to filing our audited FY 2013/14 accounts by 30 June 2015 and FY 2014/15 accounts by 31 August 2015".

Below is the statement in full:


"I hope this message finds you well.

"You would have noted media reports and Parliamentary debates concerning the Auditor-General’s Office’s (AGO) Report on its audit of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) released in February 2015. The AGO had found some lapses and weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

"You will soon be receiving a letter from us giving you details of some key points from the AGO Report and Parliamentary debate, and clarifying some misconceptions that have been circulated. Due to the importance of the subject, we have taken some time to prepare this letter.

"Meanwhile, in this short interim note, I wish to inform you of two major tasks that AHPETC has since been following up on. First, on 3 March 2015, we appointed an external accounting firm to assist AHPETC in cleaning up its earlier accounts and also to give advice on strengthening its internal controls and processes in financial management, and on internal audit matters. Secondly, we are working hard on completing our annual audits, with a view to filing our audited FY 2013/14 accounts by 30 June 2015 and FY 2014/15 accounts by 31 August 2015. These tasks are critical to complete.

"The past months have been challenging, but AHPETC remains undaunted.

"At the heart of it all, AHPETC’s Members of Parliament from the Workers’ Party are mindful of our duty to be accountable to you, the residents who have put us in office to serve. You have supported us, and we will do our best despite the challenges we face. Thank you for your concern and understanding."

Sylvia Lim
Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council