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.
An audit of AHPETC by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) found several lapses in governance and compliance.
The Court of Appeal directed AHTC to appoint independent accountants to fix the lapses in their accounts.
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.
Finally, on 1 March 2016, AHTC appointed KPMG to audit their books.
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.
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.”
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 trial began 5 Oct and ended 30 Oct.
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.