Lose the Battle but Win the War!
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