The long-running AHTC saga coming to a close

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Today is the day (November 9, 2022) when the judgment is released. Although the Town Councillors and Employees involved may have acted in good faith, there was neither an adequate nor an independent safeguard in AHTC’s approval process for disbursing payments to FMSS and FMSI.

The court found that the members and senior employees of the town council were grossly negligent in implementing the payments process, and may be liable for damages.

May 2013

The saga began with a possible conflict of interest raised in 2013. It arose from the fact that the people who owned FMSS are also the same people running the town council. 

February 2015

An audit of AHPETC by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) found several lapses in governance and compliance.

It was revealed that the owner of FMSS, Mr Danny Loh was also the secretary of the town council, with the power to co-sign cheques. His wife Ms How Weng Fan, a shareholder and director of FMSS, was also the general manager of AHPETC.

Both husband and wife were longtime WP supporters.

November 2015

The Court of Appeal directed AHTC to appoint independent accountants to fix the lapses in their accounts. 

January 2016

When it was still not done in January, the Court of Appeal ordered the Workers’ Party-run town council to appoint accountants from one of the Big Four accounting firms within two weeks to examine its books, saying that it was a matter of public interest and that the appointment should not be delayed further.

February 2016

AHTC asked for more time to provide details on accountants. 

AHTC, saga, town, council, FMSS, appoint, found, independent, KPMG, WP, payments

March 2016

Finally, on 1 March 2016, AHTC appointed KPMG to audit their books.  

October 2016

KPMG found pervasive control failures that cut across key areas of governance, financial control, financial reporting, procurement and records management over the course of 5 years.

Flawed governance in AHTC led to “improper payments” worth over S$33.7 millions to various parties such as to its former managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) and service provider FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI).

KPMG’s Oct report noted: “We are advised that, had the shortcomings (identified in) this report been committed deliberately, they could amount to criminal conduct, the implications of which the town council should consider.”

February 2017

At the insistence of the HDB, the AHTC appointed an independent panel to review the findings of KPMG, to look into improper and over payments and and to recover money improperly paid.

The three eminent persons appointed by WP to the panel are: Senior Counsel Philip Jeyaretnam, Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan and Mr Ong Pang Thye, a managing partner of KPMG.

The independent panel will act on behalf of the town council (AHTC).

July 2017

On behalf of AHTC, the independent panel filed a lawsuit against three WP MPs (Sylvia Lim, Low Thia Khiang, Pritam Singh), AHTC’s former managing agent, and its service provider over alleged improper payments of up to $33,717,535.

AHTC, saga, town, council, FMSS, appoint, found, independent, KPMG, WP, payments

September 2017

PRPTC also filed a suit against the three WP MPs for losses allegedly incurred back when WP ran Punggol East constituency.

AHTC, saga, town, council, FMSS, appoint, found, independent, KPMG, WP, payments

October 2018

The trial began 5 Oct and ended 30 Oct. 

October 2019

Verdict of the trial: The MPs, town councillors and senior employees of the AHTC and FMSS were found liable for some of the claims made against them by the AHTC and PRPTC.

sgmatters.com the decade long running ahtc saga comes to a close the decade long running ahtc saga comes to a close 2

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